Rescheduling patient appointments due to Covid-19 – Help for non-English speaking patients

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A series of patient information videos have been created to help give advice to patients who may be waiting for a rescheduled appointment time, who don’t speak English as a first language. 

“Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many outpatient appointments for those attending our hospital sites, had to be postponed or rescheduled when our staff were redeployed to work in departments and wards that needed them most,” says Dr Kanchan Rege, Chief Medical Officer at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust. 

“We communicated with the majority of our patients by writing letters and making phonecalls but for our patients who don’t speak or understand English as first language, this message has been harder to convey. We wanted to ensure we are doing all we can to provide explanation and reassurance to all of our patients and so a number of our doctors kindly translated the message into their native languages.” 

The video messages are available on the Trust website in Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Sinhalese, Spanish and English - more languages are due to be added.  

“Dealing with a high number of very unwell patients meant that we had to make a difficult decisions about what services we could still safely operate during the Covid pandemic,” says Dr Rege. “Frustratingly that meant that appointment for some specialties had to be delayed and we are now working hard to ensure we provide as much information as possible, and to get appointments rescheduled as soon as is possible.”