Two experts from the Catalan NGO have written the paper setting out the conclusions of the report "Reanimar el català. Dades i propostes per a millorar la situació de la llengua en l'àmbit sanitari a Catalunya"
The journal Minorités linguistiques et société / Linguistic Minorities and Society, from the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities, has published an article written by the director of Plataforma per la Llengua, Neus Mestres, and the head of the organisation's Language Rights Department, Òscar-Adrià Ibáñez. The article, entitled "Bilingualism in the Health System: the Catalan Case", has been included in the journal's latest issue, which focuses on the use in health systems of minority languages that are official or co-official in their respective States. As well as articles written by specialists from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, there are papers from experts on this issue from Finland, Canada, Wales and the Basque Country.
In the Catalan article, the two specialists analyse the sociolinguistic situation and language use by the population of Catalonia and compare them to language use by health staff. The paper sets out at length the results of research by Plataforma per la Llengua on the satisfaction levels of users of the public and private health systems in Catalonia with the health services provided in their language. Brief details of the research were published in the report "Reanimar el català. Dades i propostes per a millorar la situació de la llengua en l'àmbit sanitari a Catalunya" (Reviving Catalan. Details and Proposals for Improving the Situation of the Language in the Health System in Catalonia).
One of the conclusions of the research set out in the article is that the language used by health staff strongly determines the patient's language choice. This tendency is also forecast to increase, bearing in mind that it is more pronounced among young people. Although the majority of the population adapt to the language used by health staff, for every Catalan-speaking service user who carries on speaking Catalan, there are two Spanish-speakers who carry on speaking Spanish. However, if health staff always began conversations in Catalan, 77% of interactions would be in our language.
In the article, Mestres and Ibáñez also warn that large number of doctors working in Catalonia were born elsewhere, which reduces the chances of them being competent in Catalan. According to data from 2018, only 61% of members of the official Barcelona Medical Association were born in Catalonia and, that year, only 33% of new members were born there. It is therefore essential to think about how language capability can be guaranteed in the future.
The fact that the two specialists from Plataforma per la Llengua have written for this journal allowed the organisation to take part in an international seminar about language in health systems. The congress, entitled Social and Health Care Services for Linguistic Minorities and Bilingual Settings, was organised last November by the Finnish university Åbo Akademi, a leading centre for the study of the language rights of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland.