Norway is a growing multicultural society, and almost 10% of its inhabitants are related to immigration, of whom many have limited skills in Norwegian. Use of professional interpreters is seen as a necessary factor to gain equal health rights for the whole population of Norway.Since immigrants` first meeting with the Norwegian health service usually takes place in a general practitioners office, this study will focus on the situation of general practitioners use of interpreters in Oslo.
The study is based on special literature, results of related studies, an interview with a representative from IMDi, which has the national responsibility for public interpretation in Norway, correspondence with representatives for the faculty of medicine in Oslo and a small opinion poll of this years graduating class of new doctors.
There seem to be an agreement that use of professional interpreters is highly preferred, but a closer look reveals that it is quite a distance from what is said to what is actually happening in daily life. 8 out of 10 doctors say that they often/ some times do not use professional interpreters even if it is necessary.Reasons for this seem to be the lack of professional interpreters, lack of trust in the interpreters, time consumption and basically that it is unpractical. The main reason on the other hand, may be the general attitude amongst health workers; use of professional interpreters simply does not look like it is acknowledged as a natural part of their service.