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North Wales NHS Trust broke law over Welsh language

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HEALTH bosses have had their knuckles rapped for failing to provide proper treatment and translation services in Welsh.

It comes after the parents of a two-year-old boy complained there was a lack of speech and language therapy in Welsh at the former Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust.

The family said there was also no physiotherapy for their son in Welsh last April, and the only written material given to them was in English.

The mum said she had to translate in appointments and group sessions, as there weren’t enough Welsh-speaking staff to speak to the youngster in his first language.

Welsh Language Board investigators were called in to examine nine specific failures to apply the trust’s own policy.

Under the Welsh Language Act 1993, all trusts and local health boards in Wales have a statutory duty to deliver services to the public in Welsh and English.

Yesterday Welsh language campaigners called for the trust to comply with the law and for a tougher monitoring regime to ensure public bodies treat the language on an equal basis.

North Wales NHS Trust chiefs have since apologised for the failure.

They are looking to launch an action plan to bring their Welsh-language provision up to scratch – but it won’t be implemented until March next year.

The WLB is waiting for an official response from NWNHS Trust.

But if they are not happy with it they could refer it to the Welsh Assembly Government’s heritage minister Alun Ffred Jones for further investigation.

NWNHS Trust bosses will discuss the issue at a board meeting today.

Menter Iaith Conwy chief officer Meirion Davies said: “We are aware that there are problems in the health sector with a lot of anecdotal evidence people are not getting the service they need in the medium of Welsh. It needs to be looked at.”

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg spokesman Dafydd Morgan Lewis said: “Welsh should be treated on an equal basis with English. Schemes agreed with the Welsh Language Board do not go far enough. We would like a Welsh Language Commissioner who deals with these problems.”

A NWNHS Trust spokeswoman said: “The trust has acknowledged that there were failings on this occasion in providing a service in the Welsh language, and we apologise wholeheartedly to the family concerned. This particular case has been resolved, and the family are receiving a service through the medium of Welsh from the trust.”

Daily Post North Wales

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