GPs warned not to fund translators

Practices that fund translation services previously paid for by primary care organisations weaken the argument that it is non-core work, according to Londonwide LMCs.

It gives the warning in guidance issued after GP revealed that Brent PCT in north-west London was to withdraw funding for interpreters and translators in GP practices (PCT to axe GP funding for translators - GP, 2 March 2007).

Dr Stewart Drage, joint chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, wrote to Brent practices and all London LMCs after Brent PCT withdrew funding for these services this month.

Dr Drage wrote the PCT maintained that responsibility for both providing and funding these services had transferred to practices.

'This concept of "transferring funding responsibility" which the PCT has dreamt up will be of great concern to all practices, because the PCT could try to do this for anything it chooses, not just language services,' he added.

Expert legal advice obtained by Londonwide LMCs contradicts the PCT's claim.

Dr Drage added: 'If you decide to fund and provide these yourself, you should be aware that this could be deemed as becoming part of essential services, and therefore you could be allowing the funding of these services to become a requirement for all practices in the UK.'

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