Our Trust works with specialist providers for our translation and interpretation provision. The guide contains details of how to access this for face-to-face, telephone and video appointments and includes details of the purchasing order number or pin code you need to make a booking.

Please note that the guide will be updated as needed and the latest version can be found on this page.

Good communication is at the heart of whatever we do.  Some people can be at a communication disadvantage accessing our services, for example: those who do not speak English; those where English is not their first language; those with sensory loss; or have other communication needs.

Translation and interpreting involves converting the meaning of written or spoken content from one language to another. While translation deals with written materials, interpreting refers to oral translation or sign language.

As an NHS Trust it is vital that we providing quality and timely translation and interpretation to support patients/services users so they have a good experience of our services, as well as ensuring patient safety and best health outcomes.

St Helens Deafness Resource Centre is our first line supplier of British Sign Language and deaf/blind support; and DA Languages is our provider of interpretation and translation for languages.  Both can cover our whole geography.

There are three options of interpretation:

  • Face to Face
  • Video
  • Telephone

Usually our first preference is for face to face interpretation; however there are different situations that may make video or telephone the best option.

Below is a guide to explain the process for translation and interpretation in North West Boroughs Healthcare, key pieces of information and contacts.  It has been laid out in a series of sections for quick access.

Note about COVID19

There is evidence that those who speak a different language or use British Sign Language have been disadvantaged during the COVID19 pandemic and have increased feelings of isolation.  They may also have missed key information.

When we are wearing Personal Protective Equipment it can make it difficult to read facial gestures and if a person is used to lip reading it can be impossible to see.  PPE could impact on services users and staff members who may be hard of hearing or struggle with muffled speech.  Providing quality interpretation is, as ever, vital. 

If you have queries not covered in this guide please contact:

Alison Paul via MS Teams

Or email Alison.Paul@nwbh.nhs.uk

For a step by step guide to make a video consultation on Attend Anywhere with DA Languages (see Appendix A).

DA Languages offers our first line provision for language and translation provision. By accessing the DA Languages Hub you can book interpreters, arrange translation, there are a range of guides and a resources section (see Appendix D).  The website is quite intuitive. 

Teams may want to set up access to the Translation and Interpretation Service in different ways.  For example, one team may arrange all bookings via administrative staff, in another team clinical staff may book interpreters direct. For access:

To book a planned face to face appointment of language interpretation please follow this guide:

If the appointment involves a rarer language place the booking on the Hub so that it triggers DA Languages to start sourcing the interpreter.  As usual they will confirm (or not) the booking.

If it is clinically appropriate and safe please give DA Languages time to get interpretation in place. 

If for some reason the interpreter cannot be sourced in a timely way we may need to look at other options.

Telephone interpretation is usually fairly instant. 

 Access by following the quick guide by clicking here, calling the number and quoting your departmental pin, from the table below. 

 If you print the document out there is a space to record your local PIN number.


Site/Department Name


DA Languages PIN

Bolton Borough



Halton Borough



Knowsley Borough


Mental Health (Adults/Children/LLAMS)


Unscheduled Care


Children Services


Reception Areas


Scheduled Care


Sefton Borough



St Helens Borough



Warrington Borough



Wigan Borough



Mid Mersey Crisis Response Team





Question: But the language I need is not on the list?

Question: I must make sure an interpreter is available for an appointment.

Some languages are rarer than others or harder to get an interpreter for various reasons.  If you require a language that is not on the list or you believe there could be problems accessing it please contact the team at DA Languages via  telephoneinterpreting@dalanguages.co.uk

Let them know the language you need and the date of the appointment/s.

They will get back in touch with you to confirm that they can meet the booking and provide details as to how you call in to access the interpreter on the time and day that you have requested.

If there are problems with availability they will be in touch.  Depending on the situation, we may be able to move the appointment date and sometimes we may need to find an alternative supplier.

For a step by step guide to make a video consultation on Attend Anywhere with the Deafness Resource Centre and the booking from please go to Appendix B.


St Helens Deafness Resource Centre (DRC) is our first choice for BSL as we can gain additional benefits working with the local community, understanding need and create continuity. 

  • Across our geography DRC can provide: BSL, Lip Speakers, deaf blind interpreters, speech to text reporters, note takers (details in the booking form)
  • For many BSL users; BSL is their first language, so English may be a second language to them.
  • If DRC cannot fulfil the booking contact DA Languages.


For Be accessible during COVID-19 click here

Attending your appointment via video click here

Sign Health provide video coverage of the English government briefings.  https://signhealth.org.uk/resources/coronavirus/

 Sign Health have an extensive list of BSL videos covering issues such as Domestic Abuse, Mental Health, Physical Health https://signhealth.org.uk/health-video-library/

 There is the free 24/7 crisis texting services immediate support, by Sign Health, Shout and Crisis Text Line.  For immediate support, text DEAF to 85258 https://signhealth.org.uk/with-deaf-people/crisis-text-service/

 Fingerspelling - For your email signature or a word go to this site: input the word and save the image.  https://www.british-sign.co.uk/print-a-word-in-fingerspelling/

New BSL Health Access, a national free helpline service was launched 16th April 2020 www.BSLHealthAccess.co.ukThis video explains the service now available for free to support BSL users during the pandemic, in any NHS setting, 24/7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ4vAZufrVs 

For more information please go to the guide:

COVID 19:  Supporting d/Deaf People.



Sometimes we need to provide our leaflets, documents etc in a different language including British Sign Language.  Before following the process in the guide below or contacting the Deafness Resource Centre explore:

  • if you can find what you want on the internet/Government websites/other Trusts.
  • rather than having a document translated into lots of languages be prepared to get it translated promptly when the need arises.  (Experience has shown that information changes so documents can soon go out of date.)
  • can you produce documents with content that will not go out of date?

The guide to requesting translation from DA Languages click here.

If what you have translated could be used by others is there a central place you can keep it?  Can you also let the EDI Lead know via Alison.Paul@nwbh.nhs.uk

Please also refer to the Accessible Information Standard for Service Users Procedure found in Policies and Procedures section of the staff focused website.

For Languages: DA Languages

  1. For instant access use the telephone interpretation service (Section C) which is available 24/7 and weekend and bank holiday.
  2. If you know that you require video remote interpretation or face-to-face interpretation out-of-hours pre-book the session following the usual method. (Section B)
  3. If video remote interpretation or face-to-face is required but not planned DA Languages will do their best to fulfil your request although it cannot be guaranteed.  Video remote interpretation will be easier.

In this situation make your booking on the system as usual and select the “ASAP” button.  Call telephone number 0161 928 2533 with the booking reference and then the administrator know the situation. 

During out of hours the telephone number will go to someone working remotely.  When core business hours select the option for interpretation.

 For British Sign Language: Deafness Resource Centre

To access British Sign Language support between 5 pm and 9 am and over the weekend and bank holidays call: 07779708360. 

You can discuss with the Deafness Resource Centre what you require eg face to face or remote video interpretation.

The telephone line is manned on a rota.

The translation and interpretation activity is paid for against a raised Purchase Order (PO) number.  This is a sum of money for your borough/service that all subsequent invoices are paid against. 

Your Administrative Lead is key to ensure that the invoices are validated and receipted so payments happen smoothly.  Accurate activity also helps the Trust manage the contract.


  • Please quote the correct PO number for your borough/service.
  • Let your Administrative Lead know if a booking did not go ahead.

 The Administrative Leads and Purchase Order Numbers



Lead Administrative Contact

Year 2020/21

Order Number

Wigan (and Bolton)


Louise Buffey




Andrea Price



Mental Health (adults/children/


Jennie Beckwith


Unscheduled Care

Linda Shea


Children Services

Julie Spencer


Reception Areas

Kay Dillon


Scheduled Care

Peter Head


St Helens


Joanna Lacy




Vikki James




Daniel Cassidy


Mid-Mersey Crisis Response Team


Caroline Percival



 Note for Administrative Leads

For queries or further training regarding SBS please contact Procurement:

on 01925 664496 or Procurement@nwbh.nhs.uk  

 Also see Appendix E detailing the financial process.

Communication is key for effective appointments and interactions between patients/service users/carers/family members and staff.  The Accessible Information Standard came into force in 2016 and was developed to support better communication for those with a disability, impairment or sensory loss.  It is a legal requirement that all organisations that provide NHS care and / or publicly-funded adult social care follow the Accessible Information Standard.

The Standard sets out a specific, consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability, impairment or sensory loss.

These videos are helpful to understand more about:

Accessible Information Standard by Sense

They share how we need to understand…

  • What is the best way for us to contact you eg text, email (I will use my screen reader
  • What format do you need information in? eg standard print (I will use my magnifier), easy read, large print, BSL video or DVD.
  • Do you need a communication professional for your appointments such as a registered BSL interpreter, an communicator guide, a notetaker.
  • Are there any other ways we can support communication eg please note I wear hearing aids, speak slowly, look at me and keep your face clear, lip read, I will not hear my name in reception.

Communicating with people with learning disabilities and top tips for communication


Accessible Information Standard  - 5 stages

  1. Identification of needs: a consistent approach to the identification of patients’, service users’, carers’ and parents’ information and communication needs, where they relate to a disability, impairment or sensory loss.


  1. Recording of needs:
    1. Consistent and routine recording of patients’, service users’, carers’ and parents’ information and communication needs, where they relate to a disability, impairment or sensory loss, as part of patient / service user records and clinical management / patient administration systems;
    2. Use of defined clinical terminology, set out in four subsets, to record such needs, where Read v2, CTV3 or SNOMED CT® codes are used in electronic systems;
    3. Use of specified English definitions indicating needs, where systems are not compatible with any of the three clinical terminologies or where paper based systems / records are used;
    4. Recording of needs in such a way that they are ‘highly visible’.


  1. Flagging of needs: establishment and use of electronic flags or alerts, or paper-based equivalents, to indicate that an individual has a recorded information and / or communication need, and prompt staff to take appropriate action and / or trigger auto-generation of information in an accessible format / other actions such that those needs can be met.


  1. Sharing of needs: inclusion of recorded data about individuals’ information and / or communication support needs as part of existing data-sharing processes, and as a routine part of referral, discharge and handover processes.


  1. Meeting of needs: taking steps to ensure that the individual receives information in an accessible format and any communication support which they need.


We may be able to adapt our communications to the person’s needs inhouse eg make a departmental leaflet into large print, and other times we need to call in professional help eg a registered British Sign Language interpreter.

St Helens Deafness Resource Centre can provide specialist support for Deaf, Deafblind people, lipreading and other related support.

DA Languages can provide a wide range of additional communication means such as Moon, Braille, full details listed in Appendix F

I want language interpretation for a meeting

Every Trust computer has Skype, the Trust approved method for online business meetings.  The guide below shows how to create a Skype meeting; the link to the Skype meeting is what DA Languages require in section 5 of the booking screen. Click here for Guide

What technology is available?

Each ward has an iPad with Skype to help service users contact family and friend but also for use for interpretation and British Sign Language.  For staff in the community and Walk In Centres, staff should be able to access a laptop.

 To ensure appropriate care service users must be able to have suitable interpretation via our larger screen technology.  However, in an urgent situation you may find that the service user has the technology on their telephone for BSL video.

They cannot fulfil my booking request

Please book all Translation and Interpretation services via DA Languages.  Should DA Languages not be able to fulfil the appointment in 48 hours then please contact Procurement to gain agreement and an order number to arrange the service from an alternative supplier (from an agreed list).  Procurement can be contacted on 01925 664496 or Procurement@nwbh.nhs.uk  

If the Deafness Resources Centre cannot meet the BSL booking request please contact DA Languages in the first instance. 

Can we use transcribe Apps?  Please see Appendix C.

Other Information

  • DA Languages online portal is the best place to arrange a bookings as the request is automatically sent out to interpreters. (Their Tel No is: 0161 928 2533.)
  • The booking sheet asks for information that can help get the best allocation of interpreter for the service user, taking into account (as best they can) political, religious and gender considerations so that the appointment runs smoothly.  If you do not feel that the booking is a good match it may be best to rearrange.
  • Working with DA Languages we will have access to better data recording and also potential cost savings for the Trust.

I have a query not covered by this document who can I contact?

In the first instance please contact:  Alison Paul, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor,Via MS Teams or Email: alison.paul@nwbh.nhs.uk Telephone : 01925 664 061