NHS guidance on supporting patients who do not speak English as their first language is to use a human translation service. They advise against using automated translation services such as Google Translate. However, we know that some GP practices and patients find it difficult to follow this guidance, for example when using online consultations. We also know from our own research that patients will often use free online translation services when using online consultations. We have therefore made PATCHS Translate available for GP practices that want to use it, to make the process of language translation more efficient, and to provide information security, privacy, and audit trails.
How to use PATCHS Translate
If you have PATCHS Translate turned on at your practice, patients can choose what language they see displayed in PATCHS from a dropdown menu:
When a patient chooses a non-English language, all the text in PATCHS is translated. The fixed text within PATCHS has been checked for accuracy by a professional human translation service, however patients are still advised to contact the practice by telephone and use a human translator if they have concerns about the accuracy of the translation. You can read more about how patients use PATCHS Translate in this help article.
When they come through to your practice, requests written in a non-English language are easy to identify in your inbox by the language icon...
When you open up the request, it is shown in the patients' chosen language with an orange warning. To translate to English, click the 'Translate to English' link:
The request is then shown in English with a further warning: 'accuracy cannot be guaranteed - if any concerns, please phone the patient and/or use a human translator.' This is similar to what the patient sees when they select a non-English language:
What is the clinical risk of using PATCHS Translate?
- Use a human translator - which is slow and expensive, and removes any benefit of using an online consultation system.
- Use another online translation system - which is not integrated with the online consultation system (and therefore not the clinical record), and has not been professionally checked for accuracy and safety.
What languages are provided?
How are spelling mistakes handled?