Seychelles: Language barrier remains a major patient safety matter

Person Centered Care Symposium
Speakers at one of the pioneering patient-centered care symposium in Seychelles emphasized that optimal communication with patients is a central element of good person-centered care

Several members of Seychelles Patients Association have reiterated that the language barrier between certain foreign doctors and local patients is a major patient safety concern.

“Now that the health system is focusing on improving clinical care quality to begin comparing Seychelles with OECD countries, we need to address language barrier as early as possible” said the member of patients association at this week-end’s annual general meeting on Praslin. “It is a major patient safety matter.”

The management of Seychelles Patients Association concurs with its members that the number of foreign doctors who cannot communicate adequately with patients continues to be a major patient safety issue in Seychelles.

“The most desirable position is for doctors who cannot adequately speak any of the three local languages to be barred from practicing medicine or dentistry in Seychelles,” health professionals and patients alike have argued.

Whilst the law is broad enough to do this, policy has not followed suit, often because of challenges involved in finding an alternative doctor.

“This is not good enough,” argued one member.  “Patients’ lives matter. Let’s do whatever it takes to get good doctors, doctors who can speak!” she continued.

“Sonny nou byen!”