Promoting the Welsh language in Welsh general practice is welcome but we need to be realistic about workforce and workload challenges says RCGP Wales

Publication date: 27 February 2018

RCGP Wales has said that increasing the use of the Welsh language in general practice will be most effective if the pressures on the profession are kept in mind.

On Tuesday 27 February the Welsh Government outlined its regulations which specify Welsh language standards for bodies including health boards and NHS trusts. They do not apply to many primary care providers, including GP surgeries (apart from the small number managed by health boards).

Dr Rebecca Payne, RCGP Wales Chair, said:

"We would like patients to be able to speak the language of their choice, and many practices across Wales go to great lengths to ensure Welsh language provision is available.

"It is important to be realistic about what can be achieved given the current challenges facing primary care. We are facing a workforce shortage in general practice and finding enough Welsh speaking GPs from that pool is difficult in many areas. It can be hard for GPs to commit the necessary time to learn the language without leaving practices struggling to cover rotas and being unable to meet patient demand.

"Attracting more Welsh domiciled and Welsh speaking GPs to the profession would be a positive long-term solution. In the short-term, health boards should consider the resources for language support available to practices, and we can consider how we can work with our primary care colleagues in multidisciplinary teams.

"We welcome attempts to increase Welsh language provision in general practice, and in the interests of getting the best results we hope these attempts recognise the pressures our profession is under."

Further Information

Louis Urruty
RCGP Wales Policy and Public Affairs Officer
0203 188 7767

Notes to editor

  1. The Royal College of GPs Wales represents a network of around 2,000 GPs, aiming to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on resources, education, training, research and clinical standards.
  2. The regulations can be found at: www.assembly.wales/laid%20documents/sub-ld11429/sub-ld11429-e.pdf
  3. An explanatory memorandum can be found at: www.assembly.wales/laid%20documents/sub-ld11429-em/sub-ld11429-em-e.pdf 
  4. The Welsh Government's press release on the regulations can be found at: gov.wales/newsroom/welshlanguage/2018/draft-welsh-language-standards-for-the-health-sector-laid/?lang=en

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