All Welsh staff offering NHS health services will have courtesy level Welsh language skills by 2027. That is the aim of a new plan to make Welsh an ‘active offer’ in Wales.
The plan, More than just words, places a responsibility on healthcare providers to offer services in Welsh, rather than on the patient or service user to have to request them.
The Welsh Language in GP practices survey 2019 shows that only 6 per cent of practices had funded or released staff to attend Welsh language skills training in the previous three years. In addition:
- 58 per cent of GP practices were not currently aware of the ‘Active Offer’
- 86 per cent of GP practices do not have a policy for which language(s) staff should use when answering the phone.
- Over half of staff who can speak Welsh do not wear a Iaith Gwaith badge/lanyard
- Around half of practices have at least a member of reception staff who can speak with patients in Welsh
- Half of practices have a GP who is able to provide clinical consultations in Welsh.
Five themes with elements affecting GP teams make up the plan:
- Culture and leadership: social care staff should appreciate the positive difference that learning and using Welsh can make
- Welsh language planning and policies
- Supporting and developing Welsh language skills of the workforce: social care colleagues to attend a language ‘awareness’ course and acquire courtesy level Welsh speaking skills
- Sharing best practice
Progress against the actions will be monitored by a new advisory board.