Break­ing lan­guage bar­ri­ers

Western Leader - - LOCALJOBS - DANIELLE CLENT

Some mi­grants who move to New Zealand have never heard of a gen­eral prac­ti­tioner.

Grace Ryu, op­er­a­tions man­ager for Waitem­ata¯ Dis­trict Health Board’s Asian health ser­vices, said many Asian coun­tries don’t have a GP sys­tem.

‘‘So there is no proper re­fer­rals for pub­lic hos­pi­tals or spe­cial­ists,’’ the West Auck­land res­i­dent said.

‘‘Peo­ple don’t un­der­stand the wait­ing list so they sim­ply turn up to a pub­lic hospi­tal with­out know­ing.’’

Ryu said it mainly helped mi­grants over­come cul­tural and lan­guage bar­ri­ers.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Dale Bram­ley said 22 per cent of the Waitem­ata¯ pop­u­la­tion was Asian.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant for our health sys­tem to re­spond to th­ese chang­ing de­mo­graph­ics to en­sure that ev­ery­one is fully en­gaged with the sec­tor and com­fort­able ac­cess­ing our ser­vices.’’

Of the 22 per cent of Asians, Ryu said about 13 per cent of them iden­ti­fied as non-English speak­ing.

To help th­ese peo­ple in the health sec­tor, in­ter­preters and bilin­gual cul­tural sup­port was avail­able.

The large ma­jor­ity of mi­grants iden­ti­fied as be­ing able to speak English, but Ryu said it didn’t mean they were flu­ent in it.

‘‘Al­though they un­der­stand a lit­tle English, they get con­fused some­times.’’

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