A SCOTTISH doctor based in Wrexham has learned the Welsh language so he can communicate with Welsh speaking patients.
Dr Chris Goodman moved to Wrexham from Dundee two years ago and decided to learn Welsh to help him speak with Welsh first language patients at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
Dr Goodman has been attending Welsh for adults classes in Wrexham since October, 2011, as part of a three-year entry level course with Bangor University.
He said: “Some of my patients are first language Welsh speakers, so I enrolled in Welsh classes so I could communicate with them.
“This is particularly important for patients on the stroke ward, in A&E, anaesthetics and the intensive care unit that have language difficulties as a result of their illness and find it easier to speak in Welsh.
“At the moment I open up conversations with patients in Welsh and explain I’m learning but occasionally switch to English, which they seem to appreciate when they realise I’m not from Wales. Although it’s a minority of patients, it’s still important to make them feel comfortable.”
Now the 28-year-old hopes to encourage other adults to learn the language, be they complete beginners or already proficient, by supporting a Welsh Government drive to encourage more adults to take up Welsh lessons.
In addition to benefiting at work, Dr Goodman is able to use the language in his social life.
He said: “Some of my friends and colleagues are first language Welsh speakers and although they’re bilingual it’s nice to follow conversations when talking in groups and it also helps me practise.
“I also think it’s important culturally to speak the mother tongue.
“Being a Scotsman who can speak basic Scots Gáidhlig (Gaelic), it’s nice to see a Celtic language still in use.”
Welsh Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis AM, said: “There is always a reason to learn Welsh, from learning a new skill, hoping to progress in the workplace, conversing with family or wanting to meet a new group of friends.
Lessons can be found locally and cater for everyone, be they complete beginners or wanting to brush up after learning it in school.
“The Welsh Government has devised a strategy to make the Welsh language sustainable, but we can only succeed if we all take responsibility and use the language at every opportunity.”
Dr Goodman is encouraging adults to find out about local courses starting in October on the Welsh for Adults website for North Wales www.learncymraeg.org or visit www.welshforadults.org