Emergency Interpreting Service

Sunday 23rd September 2018
Emergency Face to Face Interpreting – Job Number 204539

16.35 – A doctor in the Accident and Emergency Department of the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton phoned the SIS emergency service. Arran Evans took the call.  The doctor explained that he was dealing with a young Czech-speaking man called `Peter` (not his real name), who was very confused and intoxicated. The doctor thought that this man might have been a “drug mule”, and was concerned that the man might have swallowed a lot of the substances that he was smuggling.

17.25 – SIS Community interpreter Terezia arrived by taxi at the hospital to interpret.

17.59 – Terezia called to say `Peter` has been discharged with a list of local homeless services (written in English).

Terezia was worried about `Peter`. He could not understand English, he had no mobile phone, friends, family or any known source of support in the UK.  He seemed to have arrived in the UK recently.  There was the possibility that `Peter` may have been trafficked.

He said that he was 20 years old, but he seemed to be much younger.  He had no accommodation, passport or document. He had no shoes or clean clothes. He said that he had been beaten up. He needed shelter. He wanted to call his mother in Czech Republic and then go home.

It was clearly an upsetting interpreting session and Arran offered Terezia support.  Arran said to Terezia that he would consider how SIS might alert local homeless services to the man and his situation on Monday.

Monday 24th September 2018
Emergency Face to Face Interpreting – Job Number 204540

05.25 – A doctor in the Accident and Emergency Department of the Princes Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath, phoned the SIS emergency service. Arran took the call. The doctor explained that he was phoning about `Peter` who was with him in a `confused and unkempt condition`.  Arran explained that this was the same man who had been seen in the hospital in Brighton 12 hours earlier and fifteen miles away. Arran suggested that it might be helpful for the doctor to speak with colleagues at the Brighton Hospital.

06.30 SIS Community Interpreter Hana went to Princes Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath to interpret.

07.53 – 08.07 – Hana called to say that the young man was being taken by Sussex Police to the homeless charity “Open House” in Crawley for shelter, food, shoes and for a shower.  She asked if she could accompany the police and Arran said that would be helpful. Hana called back shortly after to say that police would not authorise any costs.  Arran spoke with a police officer; explaining his concerns for the vulnerability of `Peter` and asking if it would be helpful to have an interpreter who had built trust to accompany them to ensure support and understanding.  The officer was very insistent that the interpreter was at the hospital when they had arrived there. The police had not asked for an interpreter because they had their own arrangements.

Arran spoke with Hana to see if she was okay – she was clearly worried about `Peter` and said that he had walked the fifteen miles from Brighton to Haywards Heath barefoot, that he was so desperate for support that he was threatening to smash cars. He just wanted somewhere warm to stay, to call his mum and then to go back home to the Czech Republic. Although the police had decided to take him to “Open House”, it was unclear how they would communicate with `Peter`.  They did not call an interpreter.

08.24 – Arran called “Open House”; the Director Charlie was busy and unaware of `Peter` arriving.  Arran asked Charlie to call back if SIS could help.

08.26 – Arran called Hana and explained the situation and suggested she return to Brighton.

08.33 – Charlie from “Open House” phoned Arran to say that Peter had arrived, “the police have just dumped him without any handover”. Arran gave some more detail. Charlie said she would call Immigration, where she had a useful contact.

Arran asked if they would help `Peter` with his immediate need for food, warmth and clothing.  Charlie said they would admit him at 10.00 and feed him. She explained that she wanted Immigration to see `Peter` in his current state; this might help to organise support for him. Charlie asked if he was an adult, as he looked very young.  Charlie intended to use Google Translate to help with basic communication.

09.30 – Arran emailed Charlie with more detail about the involvement that SIS had with `Peter`, and the information that SIS and the two interpreters had gleaned, reiterating the serious concerns they all had for this vulnerable man.

09.31 – Charlie called.  She wondered again if SIS could try and obtain `Peter’s` date of birth. Charlie wanted to establish if `Peter` was over 18. She was trying to speak with Sussex Police; they should have undertaken age checks before bringing `Peter` to an adult facility.  As `Peter` was now inside “Open House”, Arran offered to support Charlie with a short conversation with `Peter` with an interpreter over the phone so that Charlie might be able to obtain the information that she was looking for.

09.45-10.10 – Hana interpreted for 25 minutes over the phone – SIS paid for this work as part of their social costs.

14.15 – Arran called Charlie from “Open House” for an update.  The news was good. Charlie had successfully liaised with Immigration and `Peter` was going to be flying to Prague later that day. “Open House” stepped in on humanitarian grounds and paid for the flight from their Local Assistance Fund, as `Peter` had no money or recourse to public funds.  “Open House” could see how vulnerable he is.

“Open House” found out that `Peter` was 18 years old in March 2018. They suspected he from a traveller background, possibly with few opportunities in Czech Republic.  His mother was not that keen to hear from him but `Peter` was relieved to be going home and pleased to have the support offered.

Charlie said `Peter` had eaten a full breakfast and, later, lunch. He had been given a change of clothes and some shoes, and he had taken a shower.  She said he was unrecognizable from when he arrived.  Arran thanked her for such a great response.

14.45 – Arran called Terezia and Hana to let them know there had been a positive outcome.  Hana added that Peter had desperately wanted to return to home to see his younger brother and was threatening to take his life if he was unable to return.

Notes: Arran Evans 26/09/2018