A nurse attending a patient
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Foreign NHS staff struggle to understand spoken English

Patients and medical professionals are concerned that NHS staff with poor understanding of the English language could be putting patients at risk.

5 live Investigates reporter Phil Kemp speaks to staff at one London hospital about the problems they have in understanding their colleagues. But when asked about their understanding of conversational English, one nurse said a patient asking to "spend a penny" - slang for needing to use the lavatory - wanted to spend money.

You can hear the full report on 5 live Investigates on BBC Radio 5 live on Sunday, 18 September at 21:00 BST. You can listen again on the BBC iPlayer or by downloading the 5 live Investigates podcast.

  • 16 Sep 2011
  • From the section Health