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Interpreter service provision

What are my rights to an interpreter when receiving a public health service?

The Queensland Government recognises that a significant number of people do not speak English well enough or are not able to communicate adequately with Queensland Government staff and Queensland Government funded non-government organisations.

The Queensland Government Language Services Policy states that clients should be provided with fair and equitable access to services that are responsive and high quality. Queensland Health implements this policy by ensuring staff act on the obligation to provide effective, efficient and inclusive services through appropriate use of interpreters for people that are not proficient in English.

Interpreters can be provided in person, over the phone or via video conference.

Learn more about a client's right to an interpreter

Why must an interpreter be used in the informed consent process and what is Queensland Health's policy in this regard?

Patients who are not proficient in English, including deaf or hearing impaired patients are at higher risk of ineffective communication which can compromise patient safety. If a patient does not understand the implications of his or her diagnosis or treatment plans, a problematic event may occur. Likewise, healthcare practitioner's lack of understanding of the patient or the cultural context within which the patient receives critical information may have serious implications for the outcomes of the treatment, health care or patient's safety. A professional interpreter must be used during the informed consent process.

Learn more about the interpreter service provision in Queensland Health.

Other useful information on health procedures

Blood Transfusion - patient information

A General Guide To Blood Transfusion Information For Patients & Families

Who do I contact if I have questions about the use of interpreters in the informed consent process?

Multicultural Health and Language Services Team

Last updated: 1 July 2014