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Language and the provision of health and social care in Wales

This article explores the discrimination that may be experienced by Welsh-speaking individuals accessing health and social care services in Wales. The paper provides a brief outline of the current use of the Welsh language in Wales and explores the significance of being a territorially bound and historically situated linguistic group. Drawing on published works and secondary research, the paper explores the contemporary significance of the Welsh language and the insights bilingual theory offers into the importance of providing linguistically appropriate services in Wales. The paper identifies research which suggests that the provision of services in the Welsh language in Wales is limited or inappropriately framed. Four reasons for this state of affairs are examined: legal inadequacies, ignorance about the complexities of bilingualism, continuing prejudice, and the basis of language claims. The paper then explores whether further provision in the Welsh language needs to be made, on what basis such provision could be substantiated, and what forms further provisions might take.

Author(s): Iolo Madoc Jones, Sarah Dubberley

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