Foreign spouses and workers will no longer have to worry about the language barrier when seeking health care, as hospitals in at least 10 counties and cities will provide interpretation services from next year, the Department of Health announced yesterday.
The DOH said that with the increase in the number of the foreign workers and foreign spouses in Taiwan, the government has decided to put more emphasis on helping those persons to overcome the language barrier when they visit the doctor.
In line with this policy, the DOH said, it plans to subsidize a program proposed by the Taiwan College of Healthcare Executive to bridge the communication gap between this group of foreigners and the medical staff at hospitals.
Under the program, a group of foreign spouses from Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand who have Chinese-language ability was trained to serve as interpreters in hospitals and will provide assistance to non-Chinese speaking spouses and workers to communicate with doctors, nurses and administrative personnel, if necessary.
According to TCHE Secretary-general Benette Chu, approximately 70 percent of the medical disputes and the problems of patient safety that arise could be imputed to bad communication or misunderstandings between physicians and patients.
It is therefore very important to provide safe medical treatment, as well as interpretation services, for foreign spouses, particularly as they are a disadvantaged group in society, Chu said.