I am pleased that common sense has prevailed at last and the DoH has devolved responsibility for interpreter costs to local level.
At present the patient has no responsibility at all for speaking English.
As a locum, I see many refugees who consult with an interpreter.
The patient has often been in the UK for many months or even years. I recall one who had been here for four years, who still had an interpreter at our expense.
Clearly this is not acceptable and is a gross injustice to those unfortunates who find themselves in a postcode lottery for expensive treatment.
We ought to provide simple printed language material, backed up in libraries and online, and promote self-learning groups.
The refugee should at least try to learn a bit of our language.
Dr John M Crosland