Zurgena launches interpreter service

Non-Spanish speaking expats will have translator at hand when visiting GP surgery

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(From left to right): José Manuel Gómez Valera from Zurgena’s help desk, together with councillor Noelia García, Karen Revel from the CATs translation service and councillor Jim Simpson

Zurgena council has launched an interpreter service for expats who need to attend their health centre but do not speak Spanish.

Councillor Jim Simpson said the service was needed as some 200 expats living in the town and surrounding areas were not attending the health centres in Zurgena, due to “language problems”.

He said: “Between 15 to 20 per cent of the British expat population in Zurgena rely on the UK for health services, despite being on the padrón council register and being entitled to health care here.”

Billed as a ‘free service’ the deal, which will initially run for a year, will nonetheless be subsidised by the council at a cost of €10,000.

Although there are two bi-lingual staff available at the town hall, Mr Simpson justified the outlay.

He said: “We just didn’t have enough time in the day to deal with all the queries and staff were spending as much as 55 per cent of their time dealing with this.”

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