Even if there are conditions on your registration, you may still be able to treat English-speaking patients. If you are confident that you and your patient share a common language, you may do so without an interpreter.
A common language is one in which you:
- can competently communicate for the purpose of practising Chinese medicine
- reasonably believe that the patient can competently communicate, and
- reasonably believe that effective two-way communication is possible (whether by speaking and/or otherwise communicating, for example reading and writing.
If you do not share a common language, a suitable interpreter must be used. A suitable interpreter is an adult who:
- has experience in health interpreting
- is agreed to by both the patient and the practitioner
- is considered by both the patient and the practitioner to be competent in communicating in their respective languages, and
- agrees not to compromise privacy and confidentiality.
The interpreter may be someone that the patient provides, for example, a family member or friend provided all the above points are met or someone from a professional interpreter service. You are accountable for your practice and need to make a sincere, professional judgment about the adequacy of your arrangements to protect the safety and wellbeing of your patients.
If a complaint is made about you which may relate to these conditions or to your English language skills in general, you may be asked by the Board to justify your arrangements.
Information about interpreter services is available from the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border protection (DIBP). The DIBP’s Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) National can be contacted on 131 450, or via the website.