NHS Lothian Interpretation and Translation Service

Dear Contractors,

We are writing to update you in relation to the Interpretation and Translation Service which is available through NHS Lothian.

An on-demand telephone interpreting service provided by “The Big Word” is available for all NHS Lothian appointments. Please find attached the current quick guide on how to access the service for anyone who presents to you, and requires interpretation support. The guide is headed up for Secondary Care but this extends to Primary Care services. You will note the telephone number to call is 0333 344 9473. You will be prompted to enter a code, which is noted below for
each contractor group:

  • Pharmacies – use code 001
  • Dentists – use code 001
  • Opticians – use code 003
  • GPs – use code 005 (and pin if needed – please let ITS know if unaware of pin)

We encourage the use of The Big Word service as first priority for routine appointments where interpretation support is required.

For complex or face-to-face interpretation services please contact the NHS Lothian Interpretation and Translation Service on 0131 536 2020, option 5 or place a booking directly on the BankStaff system if you have an account.

Access for BSL Users

There is a large amount of information available on the NHS Inform website translated into BSL on video.

contactSCOTLAND-BSL is a service which can be accessed on demand by BSL users to communicate with staff for shorter periods of time – for example communicating with reception staff – this is funded by the Scottish Government.

If a face-to-face BSL interpreter is required for an appointment, please contact the NHS Lothian Interpretation and Translation Service with as much advance notice as possible to organise. The service employs two full-time BSL interpreters as well as qualified agency staff to attend and support.

NHS Lothian is working towards a 24/7 on demand BSL interpreter video service with a partner company, we will share this info once it is set up.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that using family members can be a breach of confidentiality and that accurate translations will not be guaranteed, as the trustworthiness and language proficiency of the family member is not guaranteed.

Download ITS Update in PDF