Health watchdog to look into language issues after prescription row


Matt Jones

A NORTH Wales health watchdog is encouraging people to give their views on how health services are able to meet the different language needs of patients.

The call comes after a Bangor pharmacy refused to give a prescription to sick toddler - because part of it was written in Welsh.

Geoff Ryall-Harvey, chief officer for the North Wales Community Health Council (CHC) said: “The recent press reports that some patients have experienced problems with pharmacies dispensing prescriptions which have been written with Welsh instructions, is of real concern to us.

“One of our roles is to keep an eye on the health services in North Wales and this includes how NHS bodies – including pharmacies – provide for the needs of patients regarding their language of choice.

“As an organisation, our aim is to enable everyone who receives or uses our services to do so through the medium of Welsh or English, according to personal choice. We encourage others to use and promote the Welsh language in the health sector and other bodies with whom we deal.”

The CHC said it is continuously looking at the provision of Welsh in health care and has recently produced an online survey to seek peoples’ views.

Mr Ryall-Harvey added: “We want to know what people’s experiences are about the Welsh language in local NHS services – and we will be asking patients, carers and families to tell us their views.”

The online survey can be viewed at

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