This is a reblog of a piece I wrote for the AIIC Blog. You can find the original post here.
When patients must provide their own interpreters, the healthcare system itself becomes ill. The ensuing social and personal toll is once again being ignored in the name of transient budgetary savings.
Most people with even a marginal interest in the interpreting profession will have heard about the events involving the UK Ministry of Justice’s changes to court interpreting procurement and the scandals arising from service provider Capita’s mismanagement of interpreter resources (if you haven’t, you can read a summary of events here and follow the interpreter response here). It will come as a sad surprise to hear that something even more worrying is going on in the Netherlands. There, healthcare interpreters have seen their profession effectively erased out of existence as a result of a government decision to no longer pay for interpreting services in healthcare settings.