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Jean’s Story

When Jean attended an appointment to see her doctor, she was surprised to see that the individual booked to provide communication support was not a registered or a fully qualified interpreter. The appointment did not go well: the person signing was not able to communicate effectively and Jean could see that her comments were not being relayed correctly. Feeling uncomfortable Jean ended the appointment without discussing her health concerns with the GP.

Disheartened by her experience, Jean made an appointment with an advocate from RAD to ask for support to make an official complaint.
Jean and her RAD advocate worked together to create a letter to send to the doctor’s surgery explaining what had happened. In their reply the surgery explained that the interpreter was provided by a professional language agency.
Jean was shocked that an agency had provided an interpreter that was not registered or qualified and, with the support of her advocate decided to write a letter of complaint directly to the agency. The advocate supported Jean to write a letter of complaint. The agency responded with an apology but did not agree to change their practices. Unsatisfied with this outcome Jean decided to take the complaint further.

RAD’s advocate explained how Jean could escalate her complaint with NHS England and supported her to write a letter. Following investigation, NHS Englan instructed the agency to ensure they only use interpreters registered with the NRCPD (National Register of Communication Professionals working with Deaf & Deafblind People) for all Primary Care appointments.
Jean was happy that the NHS had understood the importance of using fully registered and qualified interpreters and that because of her complaint, a new procedure has been introduced in her local area to ensure that this happens.

If, like Jean, you’d like support to have your say – or to make a complaint, contact our advocacy team:

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