Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 5°C

min temp: 1°C

Search

Bury St Edmunds: West Suffolk Hospital defends £3,000 bill to improve language

14:39 03 April 2014

Archant

West Suffolk Hospital has spent almost £3,000 on improving its staff’s English according to new figures, as the cost of running a multinational health service continues to soar.

Cooks, porters and admin staff were among those given the English language lessons at the hospital, which has racked up a £2,960 bill over three years.

Last month the EADT revealed that West Suffolk has spent almost £270,000 over the same period of time on translation and interpreter costs, while campaigners questioned why foreign workers were filling seemingly menial posts.

But a spokeswoman for the hospital defended it as a “good investment” having had 82 different members of staff pass through the course in recent times.

She added: “Over the last three years, we have spent an average of less than £1,000 a year on English language classes for staff, which represents a tiny proportion of our annual budget of around £170m.

“We view this as a good investment as it ensures staff can converse effectively, in turn ensuring our patients have a good experience when using the hospital.”

While medical staff made up the bulk of those that took the course, 31 were employed in support roles such as administration, catering and estates. Other staff signed up to the course included porters and cleaners.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s time health chiefs look at why people from the UK are not filling those roles.”

All clinical staff qualified to practice in the UK must have passed a nationally recognised English exam, while anyone undertaking an apprenticeship or foundation degree at the hospital must study English Functional Skills to a GCSE-equivalent level.

Forty of the 82 staff members that took the course were British.

Filipino, Lithuanian and Vietnamese staff also took the course between the 2010/11 and 2012/13 financial years.

Between 2011 and 2013, the hospital spent £264,800 on translation costs. However, the bill had dropped to £69,000 last year, having been close to £100,000 in the previous two years.

The EADT this week revealed that the hospital’s future financial viability had been questioned by both the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and health watchdog Monitor unless pressure could be eased on its services.

2 comments

  • They should ensure that the staff they recruit have adequate English languge skills. If they do not don't recruit them

    Report this comment

    BobE

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Clinical qualifications should take preference over language so that is fair enough. However if the non clinical staff can fill out an application form,write a CV and covering letter and pass an interview in English why would they need any extra lessons.

    Report this comment

    royg

    Friday, April 4, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The morning skies have been putting on a striking show of colour and light over Suffolk this week.

A seven-year-old girl was taken to hospital after the car she was travelling in came off the road and hit a wall.

The Brewery Tap in Cliff Lane is the only food outlet in Ipswich to receive zero stars out of five following a visit by food hygiene inspectors.

Ed Sheeran may soon be performing live on stage once more – hot on the heels of his latest album’s release.

All the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas is coming to Trinity Park next month to raise cash for Ipswich youngster George Woodward.

The owner of a fire-damaged Suffolk pub has expressed his willingness to sell the historic building to a community group wishing to take it on.

A crash has partially blocked the Copdock interchange.

A new project which aims to highlight the importance of reading is proving a page turner in the latest chapter of one Ipswich school’s story, as youngsters and staff alike are encouraged to ‘drop everything and read’.

Motorists in Suffolk and Essex who use Morrisons petrol stations may find the pumps run dry next month if a dispute over a driver’s pay leads to industrial action.

The funeral of Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt who played regular in Ipswich will take place this afternoon following his death on Christmas Eve.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24