Why should medical practitioners engage an interpreter?
Medical practitioners can engage a credentialed interpreter to communicate complex or technical information to patients with limited or no English language proficiency. This can help to ensure accuracy of communication, reduce confusion, save time, and protect practitioners from professional risk. It is particularly important when:
- seeking informed consent
- dealing with patients in a crisis
- dealing with complexity
- assessing patient competence.
Language services available to private medical practitioners
Private medical practitioners can use the Free Interpreting Service to access interpreting services delivered by TIS National, including:
- immediate phone interpreting
- Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS)
- pre-booked phone interpreting
- on-site interpreting
- video remote interpreting.
Under the Free Interpreting Service, private medical practitioners are defined as general practitioners, nurse practitioners, and approved medical specialists.
Private medical practitioners are eligible to access the Free Interpreting Service when delivering services that are:
- delivered in private practice
- provided to anyone in Australia who is eligible for Medicare.
Practice support staff working with a private medical practitioner registered with TIS National can also access the service using the same client code.
The Free Interpreting Service can be used for delivering health services, including but not limited to:
- arranging appointment times
- undertaking health consultations
- developing health plans
- providing medical test results.
The Free Interpreting Service cannot be used for:
- non-eligible allied health services
- patients who are not eligible for Medicare
- state funded public health services, such as services provided in hospitals.
Free Interpreting Service extended to support clients who have recently arrived from Ukraine
Service providers with a Free Interpreting Service (FIS) client code can now access the FIS for non-English speaking clients who have recently arrived from Ukraine. Evidence of entitlement to Medicare is not required from these clients.
Register for the Free Interpreting Service
Each practitioner will need a unique client code to access the service. To register for a client code, complete the client registration form. If you require assistance with registering, contact TIS National on 1300 575 847, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Read: about the Free Interpreting Service: tisnational.gov.au/FIS
- Read: about how to access TIS National’s online booking system TIS Online
- Order: free promotional materials from the online TIS National catalogue: tisnational.gov.au/promomaterials
Medical Practitioner Priority Line
1300 131 450
24 hours a day, every day of the year
Download the PDF version of the Free Interpreting Service - private medical practitioners information sheet
Download the DOC version of the Free Interpreting Service - private medical practitioners information sheet