BDA Wales welcomes amendments to new legislation for implementing Welsh Language Provision for dental patients
18 June 2019
BDA Wales welcomes amendments to new legislation requiring primary health care practices to make the active offer of Welsh language by various measures - including Welsh speaking dental staff wearing badges and also practices providing signage and patient information leaflets in Welsh - but says enforcement of this legislation needs to be proportionate and cost-neutral and time-neutral for dental practices.
These revised regulations significantly amend the duties outlined in the 2018 regulations, specifying Welsh Language Standards in primary care for bodies including health boards and dental practices, as the Welsh Government acknowledged that many aspects would not have been achievable currently.
The number of Welsh speakers in Wales is rising, and the Welsh Government has said it wants to get 1 million people speaking Welsh by 2050.
In our original consultation response to the draft regulations in 2016, we asked for an analysis of the costs of meeting expected need, and a financial impact analysis for dentistry, to ensure that dental practices would not be financially burdened by the new regulations and that funding wouldn’t get taken away from essential patient care. We believe our concerns were heard, as the amendments address many of the concerns we raised.
We wrote to the Welsh Government in May this year to say we support the pragmatic approach being taken in the revised legislation. We asked for clarification on how the costs of the implementation of Welsh language training would be met, including the provision of back-fill to enable dentists to attend such training.
Their response was that NHS contract holders can ultilise information and/or attend training courses, to develop an awareness and understanding of the Welsh language.
We are also pleased that they have clarified that the new regulations will ‘encourage and not mandate’ and they have said they do not wish to add any barriers to recruiting dental staff in the country.
Recruitment and retention of dentists in Wales is a growing problem, and failed contracts and under-funding have led to patients having to face 90-mile journeys for treatment, an issue we have been highlighting.
We are awaiting details from the Health Boards as to how they plan to manage the direction towards enhancing Welsh Language Provision. The Welsh Government has said it is developing a toolkit to provide practical guidance and support, and we will update BDA members with details in due course.
BDA Wales campaigns for the interests of all dentists working in Wales. With our elected committee members, we negotiate on behalf of the profession on terms and conditions, pay and contracts: join us.