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Welsh language to be embedded into digital systems for health and social care

Welsh dragon in speech bubble
Image source: Guseva

The Welsh Government has laid out plans to embed the Welsh language in digital systems used in health and social care.

They are among a series of measures presented in a five-year action plan aimed at ensuring everyone who wants can receive their care in the language.

The core element of the plan is the principle of the ‘active offer’, which places a responsibility on health and social care providers to offer services in Welsh rather than the patient or service user having to request them.

This is accompanied by measures that include ensuring that digital systems and data capture embed the principles of bilingualism in their design and development.

More specifically, the plan says the Bilingual technology toolkit will be used to ensure any new digital services including a bilingual user interface wherever possible, and that translators will be involved in content creation for websites.

There will also be an effort to improve Welsh language capabilities of national systems, and ensure any apps developed are in line with the plan. This will include sharing, recording and tracking information between systems, including language preference.

It will be accompanied by working with service users to make sure processes are easy to understand in Welsh and English.

Huge opportunity

Commenting on the whole initiative, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “There are almost 200,000 staff working in health and social care in Wales so this is also a huge opportunity for them to lead the way in contributing to the Welsh Government’s ambition to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

“Our health and social care staff have done extraordinary work during the pandemic, and they continue to work under intense pressure. They care deeply about providing the best possible care for people in Wales – for Welsh speakers that means providing a service in Welsh. By working together I am sure we can all deliver the ambitions of this plan.”

The plan has been published in the same week that Microsoft announced it has worked with the Welsh Government on embedding a translation feature within its Teams video conference and collaboration platform.

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