If we stop to think about how important it is to be able to communicate correct medical information between medical staff and patients then it seems only appropriate to also provide interpretation services for people who are unable to communicate in Japanese. Despite this, there are many people in society who believe that patients should be the ones directly responsible for supplying their own interpreters. Many also believe that immigrant patients don’t deserve such a service despite being a member of the community.
There are also many ethnic minority patients who believe that the responsibility of hiring a interpreter falls on the patient alone and since hiring a interpreter is often expensive many ethnic minority patients simply just avoid seeking medical assistance.
In order to change the situation around, FACIL was able to get funding to work with the “Hyogo Prefectural Medical Interpretation System Construction Project” to create a model where interpreters are dispatched to provide medical translations. FACIL is working together with government agencies and medical facilities to help highlight the importance of this issue.
Even though it is important to stress the significance of improving communication between doctors and patients who don’t understand Japanese well, it is also important to help improve communication between doctors and patients in general. We hope by starting this project we can help medical institutions review the way they practice medicine so that patient-doctor communication can be improved for society in general.
Through our medical interpretation project, we hope that our message of working towards improving the local medical environment in general can reach a wider audience in society.