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Multilingualism in healthcare: exploring the lived experience of maternity professionals

Brooks, Emma; (2022) Multilingualism in healthcare: exploring the lived experience of maternity professionals. Presented at: 55th British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) 2022 Conference, Belfast, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Discussions surrounding migration and health in the UK frequently focus on language as a barrier to care, with a range of solutions posited as providing effective facilitation - from professional interpreters and translated patient information through to innovative technology and software. Paradoxically, the linguistic diversity of the NHS workforce remains largely unrecognised and under-utilised, despite the evidential advantages of language concordant care: current NHS guidelines (2018) recommend that additional languages are used for making appointments and Informed by an understanding of language as a fluid and dynamic practice, this study draws on a combination of ethnographic observations and in-depth interviews to investigate the everyday experiences of bi/multilingual NHS healthcare workers who use, or have used, languages in addition to English in the workplace. Initial findings reveal the extent to which individuals (feel able to) draw on personal linguistic repertoires and explore the (dis)advantages that communicative flexibility can be said to bring in terms of comprehension and experience. It becomes clear that strategic utilisation of linguistically skilled individuals may hold the potential for advancing equity of care for migrant patient populations, who are regularly and disproportionally represented in data recording adverse outcomes. This research also holds implications for raising the visibility of multilingual health professionals working within the NHS and prompting professional recognition of language skills.

Type: Conference item (Presentation)
Title: Multilingualism in healthcare: exploring the lived experience of maternity professionals
Event: 55th British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) 2022 Conference
Location: Belfast, UK
Dates: 01 - 03 September 2022
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://twitter.com/2022baalbelfast
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10162660
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