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Long battle to get therapy in Welsh; NHS TRUST RAPPED BY LANGUAGE BOARD.

Byline: HYWEL TREWYN

A FAMILY battled with a hospital trust for more than a year before they could get therapy for their child in Welsh.

The Welsh Language Board The Welsh Language Board (Welsh: Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg) is a statutory body set up by the UK Government as part of the Welsh Language Act 1993. It is now an Assembly Sponsored Public Body.  (WLB WLB Weak-Side Linebacker (pro football)
WLB Buoy Tender, Seagoing (USCGC)
WLB Weapons Logbook
WLB Wireless Builder
WLB Wan Load Balancer
WLB Web Load Balance
) has censured the hospital trust and Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones Alun Ffred Jones (born 1949) is a Welsh politician and member of Plaid Cymru. Jones was the National Assembly for Wales Member for Caernarfon 2003-07 and for the newly created Arfon constituency since the National Assembly for Wales election, 2007.  may step in.

Problems for the North Wales family - known as Parents G - date back to April 2007 when a specialist community paediatric Adj. 1. paediatric - of or relating to the medical care of children; "pediatric dentist"
pediatric
 registrar carried out an assessment of the child in English with the youngster's mum having to translate.

Despite repeated requests for the child to be seen by Welsh-speaking therapists, it wasn't until a year later that it happened.

Fed-up at having to act as translators in some appointments, the parents decided not to take the child for appointments at Rhuddlan's Children's Centre as they felt the trust was "not interested in the fact the child speaks Welsh".

There developed "a significant amount of tension and lack of communication between the mum and the speech and language therapist."

The family's requests for all letters to be in Welsh were initially ignored by Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust (now part of North Wales NHS Trust), despite it being their right in accordance with the Welsh Language Act Welsh Language Act refers to two different acts of the United Kingdom Parliament:
  • Welsh Language Act 1967
  • Welsh Language Act 1993
.

They then decided to complain to the Welsh Language Board about the lack of language, speech therapy and physiotherapy through the medium of Welsh and the Trust's "lack of sensitivity and unacceptable attitude towards a Welsh language service and Welsh speakers." The WLB launched an investigation.

The mum said she felt she had to ask "a hundred times" for help and that it was like "asking for gold".

She said: "It felt unpleasant having to ask." The WLB investigation found that the

Trust's staff "failed to offer services to Child G and family in the language of their choice." It reported that: "At every stage and on every occasion, the family had to ask for services through the medium of Welsh after being presented with a service through the medium of English." The WLB found the Trust had included the 'Welsh is desirable' requirement in the job descriptions of some junior members of the therapy, nursing and support staff teams but not for senior roles. Welsh was not essential for any post.

It said: "This is inconsistent with an objective assessment of where bilingual skills are needed. The need for Welsh-speaking staff was not identified or mapped according to service delivery location nor the nature of the contact hyweltrewyn@dailypost.co.uk with Welsh speakers.

The WLB found that the Trust broke its own Welsh language policy and did not have bilingual information on show, material for children and signs.

The report concluded: "It should be noted that Parents G did receive a service through the medium of Welsh for their child in the end but only after placing a significant amount of pressure on the Trust and undertaking a formal complaints procedure.

"The need for a Welsh-medium service should not lead to a delay nor cause so much concern to a family." The WLB is now waiting for the Trust to confirm that they intend to comply with a list of recommendations. If they do not, the matter will be passed on to the Heritage Minister for his adjudication The legal process of resolving a dispute. The formal giving or pronouncing of a judgment or decree in a court proceeding; also the judgment or decision given. The entry of a decree by a court in respect to the parties in a case. .

A Trust spokesman said: "The Trust has received the report from the Welsh language Board this week. We are now considering the comments and recommendations made within the report and are in the process of developing a plan to respond to the issues that highlighted."
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 5, 2009
Words:584
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