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The Scottish Ambulance Service has published a Gaelic language plan for the next five years.
The plan, which is a statutory requirement for public bodies in Scotland under the Gaelic Language Scotland Act 2005, sets out how the service will harness and enhance language skills within the organisation.
A key part of the plan is to conduct an audit to establish how many staff members have Gaelic language skills and where the demand for these skills is greatest. This will help to inform training and ensure staff members with language skills are utilised effectively.
During a recent visit to Benbecula, Scottish Ambulance Service chairman David Garbutt said: ‘According to the most recent census, almost 30,000 people in Scotland speak Gaelic in their home.
‘The service recognises the importance of patient-centred care and this includes communicating with patients in their preferred language.
‘As part of the plan, we will be training staff to enhance their Gaelic language skills where appropriate as well as exploring ways of improving access to interpretation services.’
David Boag, from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, added: ‘Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes the publication of the Scottish Ambulance Service’s Gaelic language plan. The Scottish Ambulance Service provides a vital public service to communities throughout Scotland where Gaelic is used on a daily basis – both by their staff and by the public they assist.
‘It is pleasing to see that the Scottish Ambulance Service recognises the importance of Gaelic in its operations and we look forward to working with them on the delivery of the plan.
‘Our ultimate aim is that Gaelic is used as much as possible in daily life across Scotland and this is an important step forward in achieving this.’