The awards and conference aim to disseminate and spread good practice and ensure that Welsh language provision is an integral part of care. Crucial to this is the provider’s responsibility to actively offer Welsh language services.
Winners have been chosen from across Wales, for work as far-reaching as autism, brain injury and work with children (a full list of the award recipients is in the notes below).
Speaking at the event Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services and Children, said:
“It’s imperative that we provide opportunities for people to use Welsh in every aspect of life if we are to succeed in making Wales a truly bilingual country. The individuals and teams here today are being recognised for their ideas and hard work, we are grateful for their efforts.
“The culture of health and social care services is also very important – we cannot expect everyone to communicate in Welsh, but everyone can show respect and sensitivity towards Welsh speakers. Language is an integral part of care and everyone working in the service should recognise that in addition to language choice – for a number of users it is a matter of language need.
“The past year has been a good year. We not only saw the development of a Welsh language framework More Than Just Words and the launch of the Welsh Government’s new Welsh Language strategy, but we also saw the establishment of a Welsh Language Commissioner and legal status given to the Welsh language. These developments will form the backdrop to today’s conference and for the work to come over the next years.
“Finally, there are a number of staff who work in our services who speak Welsh, but some lack the confidence to use it, believing their Welsh isn’t good enough. I know from experience that this often isn’t true. We need to encourage and support them to have the confidence to use the language – because they can make a real difference. It isn’t about everyone being able to discuss complex medical terminology in Welsh, but it is very important and relatively easy to make the patient feel comfortable while they receive care or medical attention.”
Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws said:
"Speaking in this conference I was able to share information with health and care practitioners about my role as Commissioner. It also gave me the opportunity to explain the new legal procedure of standards relating to the Welsh language. We are currently holding a consultation into the wording of draft standards and this conference provided me with an opportunity to hear people's views and those standards."