A guide to Welsh language standards and duties for providers of primary health care services.

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First published:
24 September 2019
Last updated:

Welsh language standards in primary care

Welsh language standards apply to NHS primary care services that are contracted by the health boards, including NHS dentists.

Welsh language standards currently don’t apply to independent providers. However, they must follow Welsh language duties.

Welsh language standards: NHS primary care providers

You are required to:

  • help staff develop their Welsh language skills
  • provide Welsh language awareness training
  • assess the need for Welsh language skills when advertising posts

NHS bodies are also required to:

  • publish a five year plan setting out the extent to which they are able to carry out clinical consultations in Welsh
  • publish the actions they intend to take to increase their ability to do so
  • keep a record of Welsh language skills of staff
  • show in their service change and improvement plans that they have paid due regard to the need to actively offer services through the medium of Welsh
  • provide services in Welsh without having to ask for it, this is called the active offer

Welsh language duties: independent primary care providers

Since 30th May 2019, 6 Welsh language duties have been placed on independent primary care contractors.

For any services provided under the contract providers must:

  • notify the local health board if they provide services through the medium of Welsh
  • provide Welsh language versions of all documents or forms provided to it by the local health board 
  • ensure that any new sign or notice provided is bilingual. Contractors can use local health boards translation services for this purpose.
  • encourage staff to wear a badge or lanyard to show that they are able to speak or learning Welsh, if they provide services in Welsh
  • establish and record the language preference of a patient 
  • encourage and assist staff to utilise information and/or attend training courses or events provided by the local health board