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Language Proficiency Requirements in the Catalan Public Health System: Enforcement and Training Initiatives

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Language Proficiency Requirements in the Catalan Public Health System: Enforcement and Training Initiatives

Catalan Health Minister Cracks Down on Language Requirements for Professionals in the Public Health System

The Catalan Minister of Health, Manel Balcells, has declared that his department will start taking strict measures against healthcare workers who hold permanent positions in the Catalan public health system but do not use the Catalan language. The minister emphasized the importance of patients being treated in Catalan and the need for healthcare professionals to be proficient in the language.

To address the issue, the Ministry of Health has announced a linguistic training program in collaboration with the Department of Business and Labor. The program, which has a cost of 1.5 million euros and aims to provide language training to 2,700 health professionals, consists of free and optional online courses to be completed during working hours. The courses are designed to improve the language proficiency of healthcare workers, with training offered at elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels.

In an effort to encourage participation in the courses, the Ministry has developed a campaign called ‘Prescribe in Catalan!’, which aims to engage professionals in a self-assessment activity to evaluate their knowledge of Catalan expressions in the field of health. The ultimate goal is to ensure that all professionals working in the health system are proficient in the Catalan language.

Balcells has clarified that the training courses are open to all healthcare professionals, including those who do not speak Catalan. However, he stressed that proficiency in Catalan is a requirement for obtaining a permanent position in the Catalan public health system.

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The training program, which includes 100 hours of coursework, will consist of both theoretical (tutored virtual self-training) and practical components (oral conversations). Upon completion of the training, professionals will receive a certificate of language proficiency from the Consortium for Linguistic Normalization.

The Minister of Business and Work, Roger Torrent, has also noted the practical aspects of the training, highlighting the importance of oral conversations to complement theoretical learning.

The Ministry’s move to enforce language requirements in the public health system reflects an ongoing effort by the Catalan government to promote the use of Catalan in various sectors, including healthcare. With this initiative, health authorities aim to ensure that all patients are treated in the regional language and that healthcare professionals meet the necessary language proficiency standards.

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