The UK has a rich and diverse cultural history. The Migration Observatory tells us that 14% of the UK population, 9.3 million people, were born outside the UK in 2018.
The most recent Census (2011) revealed there were 4.2 million people living in the UK for whom English or Welsh (for residents of Wales) was not their main language. In fact, the official survey reports the existence of 88 main languages in the UK.
Although, most immigrants speak the national language well (3.3 million residents are said to be proficient in English), the 2011 Census revealed that 863,000 residents were ‘non-proficient’, 726,000 could not speak English well and 138,000 could not speak English at all.
English proficiency and health
The same survey pointed out how language proficiency can impact other aspects of life such as employment and general health. As language is one of the most powerful tools for financial and social independence, residents with little or no English find themselves in a vulnerable position. The statistics demonstrate that residents with no command of English are 50% more likely to be unemployed than native speakers.
According to the Census, around 300,000 residents in England and Wales rated their health as ‘not good’ and also their understanding of English as ‘non-proficient’. Those who did not speak English were less likely to rate their general health as ‘Good’ (65%) than those you were proficient in English (80%), or those with a main language other than English who spoke English well or very well (88%).
A global new service
Effective communication is instrumental to deliver healthcare support. Language disparities between patients and healthcare professionals can compromise the diagnose and the patient’s treatment. Even if the doctor can diagnose and advise on treatment, the patient may not be capable of understanding their condition and treatment. The understanding of one word can make a big difference.
Miscommunication is a problem. HealthHero seeks to reduce language barriers by introducing a translation service. HealthHero has partnered with Language Line Solutions, who provide translation and interpretation services from trained, professional translators and interpreters with more than 240 languages available.
HealthHero continues to focus on providing a service for everyone, everywhere, anytime.