Airedale Hospital has spent nearly £200,000 in one year on translators for patients unable to speak or understand English, an MP has revealed.
Shipley MP Philip Davies who uncovered the information through a Freedom Of Information request is also waiting for a response from Bradford Royal Infirmary, which he believes will be significantly higher.
Mr Davies said: “This is money that could be better spent on patient care so surely it is better for these patients if they want to contribute to a British way of life is to be able to speak English themselves.”
Speaking in Health Questions in Parliament he demanded money be spent on the NHS for treatment not interpreters and urged people to learn to speak English.
Mr Davies added: “What is government doing to ensure people that live in this country can speak English so that the money for the NHS goes for the purposes for which it is intended.”
Health Minister George Freeman said the NHS is dependent on people who come and work from overseas but said the point on English language was “well made”.
Mr Freeman added: “Under the NHS mandate and laws we have a duty to provide proper diagnosis and treatment for citizens. It is in none of our interests for citizens of the UK not to be able to integrate and get proper diagnosis from the system.”
Mr Davies added: “The minister is missing the point, doctors and nurses who work in the NHS from overseas can speak English. My concern is all the money being spent on translators that could be spent on treatment, equipment and patient care. People living in the UK need to speak the language.”