Arfon AM Siân Gwenllian is seeking assurances from the North Wales Health Board and the Labour Health Cabinet Secretary that Welsh-speaking GP services will be available to the patients of Dyffryn Nantlle following the imminent retirement of the area’s only Welsh speaking doctor.
“I wrote to the Health Secretary Vaughan Gething in April,” said Siân Gwenllian, “voicing concerns that the Welsh speaking service would be lost following the retirement of Dr Morris of the Dolwenith Surgery in Penygroes. I have not had a reply despite writing to him again recently.
I raised the matter with the Chair and Chief of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board in May and they promised to look into the matter but have had no news since. I wrote to the Chief Executive again recently asking for clarification. Local councillors and electors have been raising the matter and are awaiting news, and the Welsh Language Commissioner has also promised to look into the situation.
It is imperative that patients in the area continue to be able to access a Welsh-speaking doctor. Children and older people in particular need the choice of conversing in their first language, and lack of information from the authorities about what is going to happen is adding to the concerns locally. Assurances are needed immediately.
In the long term, the answer is to train more Welsh-speaking doctors in a new medical school in Bangor, a campaign I’ve been pursuing since being elected as Arfon AM.”