Statutory assessments under MHA & Interpreters

Good evening colleagues,
Post covid , where do we stand by law about MHA assessments and interpretation? I am aware that assessments need and must be done face to face. It is becoming more of a usual practice that interpreters are not willing or are not available to attend face to face but only available on the phone and if you insist they offer service virtually…
As we all know, assessments are more than verbal communication especially for people who are extremely unwell and in crises- non verbal communication could speak volumes. When interpreters are not available physically it is concerning and a challenge for AMHPs to evidence s13 role fully. Also it could -ly impact the outcome of the assessment due to lack of full picture being captured. Not to mention cultural behaviour that could be present may be misinterpreted by assesors as part of the illness. Whereas if thevinterpreter was present they may shed abit more light what the behaviour could mean.
What are people’s thoughts? Any recommendations of interpreting services that are willing to attend f2f assessments? As an AMHP how do I challenge this practice?

In Hampshire interpreters seem to be willing to come out face to face for AMHPs so it might be in your area that this has become an issue. Where are you based Esther?

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Thank you Neil for your response. I am based in London.

I know Sarah Vickary at Manchester Metropolitan University did some research a couple of years ago on use of interpreters by AMHPs and she would be very interested to hear about the situation you describe in London as it goes against all good practice. The problem is that the law doesn’t state that interpreters must be used face to face. It is just good practice, so this may be why some interpreters are trying to only provide by telephone as they don’t incur costs of travel and the time that takes so can probably undertake more interpreting sessions as a result. I will bring this issue up with the National AMHP Leads Network as I am a member of their Steering Group.

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Thank you Neil I would be interested with the view of your colleagues in your forum. Also if there are any interpreting services that are providing an excellent service and willing to attend f2f for assessments please advice and i can share with my AMHP service with an aim for them to consider commissioning their service where we are.