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Welsh government to increase use of Welsh language in GP surgeries

The Welsh Government is pushing for GP practices to ensure that Welsh-speaking staff are available to patients who need them and providing ongoing advice to surgeries to promote the Welsh language.

It has said it will complete a review of IT systems before the end of the year to ensure that GPs are logging patients’ preferences for consultations or communications in Welsh.

The details were outlined in a circular sent to GPs and other health professionals this month.

Welsh Government officials say they will engage with professional bodies such as the BMA over the next seven months to plan how Welsh language services can be delivered more effectively by doctors.

These actions are part of the joint Welsh Government and NHS Wales response to recommendations by the Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws to increase the use of Welsh in primary care settings. She made the recommendations in her report My Language, My Health published last June.

Health minister Mark Drakeford announced in December that the Government’s longer-term aim was to recruit more GPs who speak Welsh.

The circular issued last week says of the requirement to meet the needs of Welsh speakers: ‘GP clinical systems capture details of patients’ language preference, enabling information to be shared with other healthcare providers. We are undertaking a review of our e-Health and care strategy and this requirement (of meeting the needs of Welsh speakers) will be considered in that programme.’

Ms Huws’ report detailed how some Welsh-speaking patients find it more difficult to express themselves or be ‘open’ when they speak to GPs who speak only English.

It described in one section how a Welsh-speaking woman struggled to take a test for dementia in English.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Excellent ...the more barriers we can put up between the nations of the UK the better, the costlier the better. Welsh only in Wales please and independence for Scotland too. We need to be turning in on ourselves and celebrating how different we are from one another when ever possible. It's only when we focus on how little in common we have with our neighbours that we can be free and find happiness. Lets celebrate division and separation, let's make a special effort to all speak different languages so we can separate ourselves and remind ourselves we aren't like those people over there and we don't like them either ....we all know it makes sense.

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  • What idiocy. Wales has a recruitment problem already. Let's put off any English GPs from working there and make it even worse with this navel gazing nationalist drivel.

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  • Whats the education system like in Wales,their going to have to train a lot more Welsh speaking doctors!

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  • John Glasspool

    As I get older, I have slowly come to the view that Nationalism is Racism. We live in something approaching a global village now; hence my view we should welcome masses more refugees. Odd, perhaps for a WASP pushing 60 with a short stick!

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  • i think thisis early form of alzheimers for the welsh politicians.only Almighty can help!!!

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  • They've always got interpreters such as Language Line to help with the occasional English speaking patients!

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