Skip links and keyboard navigation

Client perceptions on the quality of the Queensland Health Interpreter Service

client perceptions on the quality of the QHIS

  Information for the public
  Information for health workers
  Information for interpreters
  Information for funded non-Government organisations
  Guidelines and resources
  Contact the Queensland Health Interpreter Service

When the Queensland Health Interpreter Service was established in 2007, a comprehensive plan was developed to evaluate the quality of the service. This plan included surveys of staff, interpreter service coordinators, community stakeholders and clients.

In 2012, a review of interpreter service client experiences of the service was completed as a part of this quality assurance process.

The survey was conducted via telephone surveys using interpreters, and was administered to a random sample of 332 clients of the service. The National Health Performance Framework’s Health System Performance domains were used to assess service quality.

The results of the survey indicate that the service is well placed as a quality service in terms of its capability, appropriateness and accessibility.
The feedback showed:

  • 90 per cent of clients would use the same interpreter again (capability)
  • 90 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with the ease of communication when using an interpreter (appropriateness)
  • 80 per cent knew they could request an interpreter and that the service was at no cost to them(accessibility)
  • 80 per cent of clients were not concerned about confidentiality of their personal information when using an interpreter (responsiveness).  

The survey also indicated that improvement is required in responsiveness and safety as well as continuous service delivery.

The feedback showed:

  • 15 per cent of clients reported being concerned to some extent about confidentiality issues relating to the interpreting session (responsiveness)
  • almost one half of clients did not receive an interpreter each time they visited Queensland Health in the past 12 months (continuous) and used a family member or friend to interpret for them at a health appointment in the past 12 months (safety).  This occurred regularly in 7 per cent of cases, and sometimes in 42 per cent of cases.
  • 70 per cent of clients rated their experience as other than good when they did not have an interpreter during a medical appointment (responsiveness)

The main reasons why clients used family and friends as an interpreter were that interpreters were not booked or did not arrive (64 per cent) and client choice (26 per cent).

Qualitative responses to survey questions further identified that the service could be improved by addressing interpreter system issues and interpreter quality issues. Overall, taking both the quantitative and qualitative data into consideration, the Queensland Health Interpreter Service is a quality service, with more than 90 per cent of clients satisfied with the interpreter service. 

This research identified that improvements to the quality of the service could be achieved by a focus on two areas:

  • Interpreter system improvements - booking interpreters when required, educating clients about why professional interpreters are required, promoting the service being free of charge, and educating interpreters about the importance of arriving on time.
  • Interpreter quality improvements - accuracy, completeness and impartiality in interpreting, training in medical terminology, treating information confidentially, being respectful during interpreting and staying to interpret for the whole appointment. 

The one variable that was statistically significantly related to overall client satisfaction, when all other variables were considered, was the client’s willingness to use the same interpreter again. Interpreter quality issues appear to be the most important issue to improve overall client satisfaction with the service. 

Queensland Health will now work on addressing the interpreter system and interpreter quality issues identified in this research.

Full report

Client perceptions on the quality of the Queensland Health Interpreter Service Client perceptions on the quality of the Queensland Health Interpreter Services (3.3 MB) ***large file warning***

Last updated: 10 October 2013

What's new?

Queensland Health's 2017-18 report on Our Story, Our Future: Queensland's Multicultural Action Plan 2016-17 - 2018-19
Queensland Health's progress against achieving actions in Queensland's Multicultural Action Plan.

Report on client perceptions of the quality of the Queensland Health Interpreter Service
A new report on the perceptions on clients on the quality of the Queensland Health Interpreter Service is now available.

National Interpreter Symbol

The blue interpreter symbol is the nationally recognised interpreter symbol.

national interpreter symbol

Click here for more information about this symbol.

Complaints about health or other services

Do you have concerns about a government or non-government health service or are you unhappy with the way an issue has been handled? Do you think you have been treated unfairly or are you concerned about a decision or action of a health professional?

It is ok to complain, and there are organisations that are independent of the government that can help you, free of charge.

Go to the Queensland Independent Complaint Agencies' website for more information.