NHS FIFE’S translation and interpreting costs went up by almost a third in the past year, Freedom of Information figures have shown.

The health board revealed that it spent £65,854 on face-to-face interpreting in 2013/14, with 1379 contacts (or appointments) made.

This rose to £87,438 on 1923 contacts last year. The amounts for both years excluded VAT.

It is a legal requirement to provide interpreting services and make health care services accessible under the Equality Act (2010).

NHS Fife chief executive Paul Hawkins said the increase was due to a “combination of factors”, which could include individuals’ health and social care needs, as well a spike in requests for interpreting at multidisciplinary meetings.

He added, “By having interpreting services NHS Fife can ensure that patients are able to make informed decisions based on accurate information.

“Therefore we provide a variety of interpreting services. The services are available for patients and where needed for their parent or carer, this is particularly important, for example, when children require health care services. We provide face to face interpreting, telephone interpreting and we arrange translation of healthcare information and medical records for community languages.

“We have British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters available. We provide assistance for patient or carer who have severe hearing and sight impairment to attend appointments from their home. “This is provided by Deafblind Scotland. Interpreting services are provided for the appointment. Lip speakers and note takers are also available.

“We transcribe information into Braille, audio and easy read with the NHS Fife Speech and Language Department providing information in pictorial form to make leaflets more accessible.”