Following the introduction of new Welsh Language Standards which require phone calls to be answered by someone fluent in Welsh (Standard 10 ), and not just with pre-learnt phrases. North Wales CHC introduced an answerphone service taking messages from the public and calling back in the language of choice.
They introduced this system because not all their staff are Welsh speakers and they could be fined up to £5000 if calls are answered by a member of staff who is not sufficiently fluent to deal with a call in Welsh.
The new standards make it clear that it is not acceptable for the member of staff answering the phone to transfer the call to a Welsh speaker. The call must be dealt with in Welsh from the outset. Whilst they have a high proportion of Welsh speakers amongst their staff, they cannot guarantee that every single one of the many calls into the NWCHC will be answered by someone who can speak Welsh to the level required by the Welsh Language Commissioner.
To me the questions this poses are, does this stop English speakers only from getting a job?
If a non speaking Welsh paramedic comes to treat a heart attack patient, the patient could tell him to go away.
They’ll end up alienating people rather than winning them over, if they’re not careful.
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