Discussing health service Catalan requirements. | @CAIB

The government got itself into a bit of a pickle over health service recruitment when it was becoming obvious that IB-Salut wouldn't in every instance be able to take on staff with a required level of Catalan.

Catalan speaking for the health service has been a main strand of this government's policies, as it was with the previous government "pact" of 2007 to 2011. Insistence on Catalan has been coming in particular from Més, but now the culture ministry (which Més are in charge of) has come to an agreement with the health ministry (PSOE). The health service and the department for linguistic policy (within the culture ministry) will accept applications from medical staff without required levels of Catalan so long as the number of posts being offered exceeds the number of applicants. Successful applicants, in these instances, will be given a two-year period in order to gain the required language accreditation.

IB-Salut explains that a linguistic planning service was recently set up that will be coordinating with the linguistic policy department. Its function will be to guarantee the rights of all patients to be attended to in the two official languages. It will also promote Catalan learning by health professionals and will study language use by patients. There are already more than 1,000 staff taking part in Catalan courses.

Unions have been notified that doctors and nurses must have at least B2 Catalan accreditation, while auxiliary staff will need B1 as a minimum.

Despite the compromise reached, Catalan is a requirement for health service employment. The agreement between the health and culture ministries will go forward to the legal advisory Consultative Council and then to the cabinet for approval.