The Welsh Language Service at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has been praised for increasing the use of the Welsh language amongst staff to help improve patient care.

The Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws, has chosen the Welsh Language Service as a case study to showcase their work and to encourage other organisations to follow their lead.

In the last two years the team have implemented numerous initiatives leading to an increased awareness and improvement of bilingual services. One of the initiatives is a successful language choice scheme across all hospitals where patients are asked whether they want to be identified as Welsh speakers. If yes, a ‘Welsh speaking’ magnet is placed above a patient’s bed to ensure that staff are aware that these patients prefer to receive their services and care in Welsh.

Earlier this year the team launched the ‘Use Your Welsh’ campaign with staff to promote the language and highlight the benefits it can provide Welsh speaking patients.

Meri Huws recently met with Eleri Hughes-Jones, the Health Board’s Head of Welsh Language Services, in Cardiff at a recent Successful Practices Seminar to find out more about the work of the team. Ms Huws, said: “We know that people have more opportunities than ever to use the Welsh language.

“But, behind every good quality service or programme, a lot of work goes on in the background.

“We were delighted to have had the opportunity to lift the lid on the work done by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and to see how the organisation has set a clear strategic direction to encourage an increase in the use of the Welsh language.

“We heard about the organisation’s projects and campaigns on the ground, which motivates the workforce to develop their Welsh language offer as well as raising awareness amongst patients of the opportunities available to use the language.

“I hope the Health Board’s work will motivate other organisations to take action, so that the experiences of Welsh speakers across Wales continue to improve.”

Eleri Hughes-Jones, Head of Welsh Language Services for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, added: “We were pleased to be part of the Successful Practices Seminar with the Welsh Language Commissioner, which recognises the positive work being done within the public sector in Wales to evolve Welsh language services.

“It’s very positive that the Welsh Language Commissioner has conducted a case study based on the plans the Health Board has put in place to develop Welsh language services within the health sector.

“What’s important for us as a Health Board is that these plans are delivered on the ground to lead to creating positive experiences for patients in their mother tongue.”

Photo: Eleri Hughes Jones with the Welsh Commissioner Meri Huws.

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