Is it time to talk? interpreter services use in general practice within Canterbury

Seers, Kara, Cook, Lynley, Abel, Gillian, Schluter, Philip and Bridgford, Paul (2013) Is it time to talk? interpreter services use in general practice within Canterbury. Journal of Primary Health Care, 5 2: 129-137.

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Author Seers, Kara
Cook, Lynley
Abel, Gillian
Schluter, Philip
Bridgford, Paul
Title Is it time to talk? interpreter services use in general practice within Canterbury
Journal name Journal of Primary Health Care   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1172-6164
Publication date 2013
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 5
Issue 2
Start page 129
End page 137
Total pages 9
Place of publication Wellington, New Zealand
Publisher Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Subject 2739 Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Formatted abstract
INTRODUCTION: Effective communication is fundamental to successful health care service delivery,
and has a positive impact on access, quality of care, health outcomes, and patient satisfaction. Although
there are a growing number of New Zealanders who do not speak English proficiently, underutilisation of
trained interpreter services appears to be common in primary health care settings.

AIMS: To describe the pattern of interpreter service need and utilisation by general practice services,
and to identify key barriers and enabling factors to the use of trained interpreters.

A mixed methods study was employed. Census and Partnership Health Canterbury Te Kei
o Te Waka (PHC) databases were combined, and quantitative analysis used to derive interpreter service
need and utilisation patterns. Transcripts of focus groups and interviews from general practitioners, practice
nurses and practice administration staff within the PHC were analysed, using qualitative methods to
identify barriers and enablers to interpreter service use.

RESULTS: For the years 2008–2010, approximately 10 742 consultations per year involved a non-Englishspeaking
patient, yet in only approximately 74.8 (0.7%) consultations per year were interpreter services
utilised. Analysis of focus groups and interviews identified four global themes that represented barriers for
interpreter service utilisation; namely, practicalities, expectations, knowledge of service, and systems.

DISCUSSION: The current use of interpreter services in PHC general practice appears to be significantly
less than the need. In order to maximise health outcomes and reduce risk, strategies must be initiated to
counter the barriers currently inhibiting interpreter service use, including adopting best practice policies.
Keyword Communication
Communication barriers
General practice
Primary health care
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Created: Thu, 28 Nov 2013, 16:16:07 EST by System User on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work