REVEALED: Sheffield NHS spends Â£340,000 on translators
Health bosses have spent almost Â£350,000 on translators in the NHS in Sheffield in the past year.
A freedom of information request revealed that translators were needed for 72 different languages in 2016/2017.
The total figure for NHS translator spend came in at £341,601, a 63% increase in the past five years from £208,575 in 2012/13
The language that most translators were required for was Slovak, with 4,203 incidences of interpreters being needed, with Arabic the second most popular and Urdu third.
Hospital bosses said the increase was due to the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ NHS foundation trust being made responsible for community health services such as at home patients that are unable to visit services, dentists and doctors surgeries, as well as hospitals in the city.
The increase comes after city health bosses announced plans to close the city centre walk in centre on Broad Lane, and the minor injuries unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in a bid to cut costs.
Nationally hospitals are facing a winter crisis, as the average number of hospital beds closed each day last week owing to outbreaks of norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, rose to 859, up from 747 a week earlier.
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A spokesperson from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Primarily the costs of interpreting have risen because the Trust is now responsible for community health services as well as hospital services.
“This has increased the number of patients we care for by many thousands and so as you would expect some of those patients also require interpreting services.”
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust delivers a range of health care in the local community to make accessing services more convenient for patients. Treatment is also provided at home for patients who are unable to visit locations in their community.
Community health services includes dental health, services, sexual health services, community nursing and care home support teams.
The department of health and social care declined to comment.