Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Storm in a (Welsh) teacup

There are some idiots about, this time it's the idiots who presume that something is what it isn't.
A sick baby was rushed to hospital after a supermarket pharmacy refused to hand his medication to his father because part of the prescription had been written in Welsh.
But staff at the supermarket in Bangor, north Wales, refused to give him the steroid tablets because they could not read the note as not all of it was in English.
Writing on Facebook earlier this week, Mr Mann said: 'I can’t believe Morrisons wouldn’t give us Harley’s prescription for a chest infection today because it was in Welsh.
Arfon Wyn, a local councillor, said the news was 'disturbing'.'This is totally diabolical. It is the trend of these large supermarkets not to employ bilingual local people and so such terrible events as this can take place.'
OK, Morrisons wouldn't give out the prescription because they didn't understand it as it was written in Welsh. Can you imagine the headlines if they'd guessed what the Welsh was and killed the baby? Knowing Welsh is not mandatory in Wales despite what Mr Mann or Councillor Wyn believes either any more than knowing English is mandatory in England (although it helps a bit more than knowing Welsh in Wales)
Secondly Morrisons can employ who the bloody hell they want and I'm pretty sure that a knowledge of Welsh at the pharmacy wasn't an issue of real concern to them as I rather expect that until this cropped up they'd not had a similar problem.
A Morrisons spokesman said: 'The pharmacy team are looking into it and are working with the store and area pharmacy team to find out what has happened.'
That's fairly simple, the staff on duty did not understand the language the prescription was written in and erred on the side of caution. Yes it's a Welsh community, but surely a more competent doctor might just have added a translation just in case?
This seems more like a case of Mr Mann carping about not everything being the way he (and Councillor Wyn) wants it with bi-lingual speakers being mandatory in all places.
To which the answer is that not all people in Wales speak Welsh, nor wish too and it's not mandatory to speak Welsh in Wales. Perhaps they'd be better off asking the doctor to make bloody sure the prescription is printed in both languages? After all it's a childs life at stake here.

7 annotations:

selsey.steve said...

Dear Wales,
Speak bloody English when stuff really matters. The Air Traffic Controllers in the UK (and that includes the Welsh) all speak English for exactly the same reason. It saves lives!

Anonymous said...

The real issue here is whether or not there is some ruling as to what language doctors should use when writing out prescriptions. After all in many parts of the country it could just as easily have been Polish, Urdu, Egyptian, Chinese ..... you name it

Dioclese said...

I fear you could be inviting a storm of protest with this post. Look what happened to me...

Quiet_Man said...

Oh I have no problem with people wanting to speak Welsh. I just have a problem with the presumption that in Wales where even today a majority do not speak Welsh (Some 19% Welsh speaking) not all the Welsh can speak it and the arrogance to think that bi-lingual people 'must' be employed to cover for those who do.

wiggiatlarge said...

Dioclese, this comment in your link

Wait until England gets road signs in English, Arabic, Urdu, Polish, and Swahili.

was already to late , there are official signs in Tower Hamlets that contain no English !

DerekP said...

So the MAJORITY Welsh people speak English,
but only a FEW Welsh people speak both English and Welsh.

So those FEW deliberately used ONLY Welsh instead of English when there was a child's life/health on the line?

So two obvious and chilling conclusions:

1 - a child's health was used to try to score a political point;

2 - the FEW are willing to take risks with those in their power, to make the argument that those FEW should have even more power and authority over even more people.
If that nasty trick works once then why wouldn't they keep on using it?

Dioclese said...

wiggieatlarge, have you been to Leicester recently? I was there in the mid 1980's and there were whole sections of the city centre where you could find no English at all!