Thursday, 9 August 2012

Welsh in the NHS

My Grandmother was born in Cwmdare in 1886 and died in Cardiff in 1968 . She had married my Grandfather Iestyn Goronwy and they both lived in Penycoedcae near Pontypridd where my Granfather run the pub.

They were both Welsh speaking but as was sadly, a common practise at the time did not pass it down to their children. As reflected in our family Bible when Athe dates of Births and Deaths at the back. changed from Welsh to English.

She was probably suffering form dementia at the end and reverted almost entirely to the Welsh of her childhood..

Only me and my brother with out schoolboy Welsh were able to follow her and them only slightly.

In all honesty I don't know if there were any members of staff who were able to communicate with her in her language but she was probably under great stress because of it.

It a pattern that has repeated itself throughout Wales and even when the family share the language the stress on someone with dementia who has forgotten their English must increase their discomfort.

That why I support  Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws in her call that patient’s right to speak Welsh should be central to their clinical treatment by health and care services, 

Speaking at the National Eisteddfod, in Llandow, She  announced her first inquiry since taking office in April. She said the investigation would explore attitudes to language within the health and care sector.

“In discussions I have had with people across Wales since starting in my role as commissioner it has become very clear that people want us to make an inquiry into the use of Welsh in the field of health and care,” she said.
“I had no intention of launching a statutory inquiry like this so early in my role, but on the basis of the evidence we have collected it was clear that we had a responsibility to look at this subject.

“Respecting an individual’s language needs should be seen central to the clinical treatment, and not as an additional consideration"

The response from some official quarters was typical  the British Medical Association (BMA) shave already said the use of the Welsh language should not be a priority when delivering healthcare.

The BMA said health money should not go into "promoting" the language, and targeting Welsh-speaking staff could hamper recruitment.

But we are not talking about promoting the Language but ensuring that people who speak Welsh particularly those who cannot communicate in English fluently for any reason should have the best care available.

These are hard times and there will be call from some quarters that money should be spent on other priorities

These arguments would of course be made even in boom times.

In my Grandmothers case hearing a member of staff speaking to her own language (which she only understood) may have had a better outcome than any drug intended "to make her more comfortable"they give

Looking at this issue could actually save money simply by improving the patients well being by able to communicate with them.

1 comment:

Neilyn said...

The arrogant, anglophile BMA have got to be told where to go. As you say Glyn, this is not about promoting the Welsh language so much as giving us Cymry Cymraeg the right (enjoyed by the English of course) to speak our own language in our own country, including at such times as when we're seeing a doctor or being treated in a Welsh hospital. It's called equality and if they seek to prevent it they have to be held to account before the law. End of story. I'm sick to death, no pun intended, of being forced to speak English to foreign doctors in my own country.

As far as money goes, have the official cost figures for the British Olympic Games been released yet? Where did they get all that money from?