Breaking language barriers
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.’’