Sunday, December 5

Armengol will file all doctors who do not attend in Catalan

Palma de Mallorca



A simple complaint before the Office of Linguistic Rights for not attending in Catalan will be enough for the Balearic Government, chaired by the socialist Francina Armengol, open a file to doctors and nurses. This has been agreed on Monday by the Executive of the Islands, formed by the PSOE, Podemos and the nationalists of Més, in an emergency meeting forced by the latter to try to resolve the open schism for the use and requirement of Catalan in Balearic health.

It all started on August 30 when the independentist Twitter profile @cocovermallorca denounced that a doctor at the Son Pisà health center, in Palma, had refused to “understand” her 79-year-old mother in Catalan. The following day members of Arran, a youth organization linked to the CUP, made a painted on the facade of the outpatient clinic that read “Enough of linguistic aggressions”. Likewise, the Catalan movement of the Balearic Islands was mobilized on social networks “against linguistic aggressions” and in favor of the “right to live in Catalan.” The Ministry of Health, commanded by the PSOE, played down these complaints and ignited spirits within the Government, especially among the nationalists of Més.

The Language Rights Office, created at the end of 2020, filtered the number of complaints collected, which certified that 40% referred to health, and even signed an opinion article published in Ultima Hora. Hostilities within the Government have reached such an extreme that a sectoral meeting had to be called to reach an agreement that soften tensions among Government partners, increasingly pending to differentiate themselves in the face of the next elections.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of the Interior and a strong woman from the PSOE, Mercedes Garrido; the former candidate of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and current general director of Language Policy, Beatriu Defior; the president of the Catalan formation in the Balearic Islands, Mateu Matas ‘Xurí’, the deputy of Més per Mallorca Joan Mas ‘Collet’, the spokesperson of United We Can and vice president of the Consell de Mallorca, Aurora Ribot, and the deputy spokesperson of the purple formation in the Balearic Parliament, Esperança Sans.

The main agreement of the meeting is the opening of informative files – and sanctioning if considered appropriate – to any health worker who receives a complaint at the Office of Language Rights for not using Catalan or not allowing patients to do so. Likewise, all the posters in hospitals and health centers will be required to be, at least, in the Catalan language, as provided for in current regulations. The groups that command the Balearic Government undertake to implement this measure as of October 1.

Responsible for language

Likewise, each of the nine managements of the health centers must have a person responsible for ensuring that the comply with language regulations and an IBSalut director will be appointed to assume dialogue with the Office for the Defense of Linguistic Rights. Finally, the parties that make up the Balearic Executive undertake to hold a meeting to monitor these agreements once a month.

The crisis over the use of Catalan erupts in a moment of health emergency due to the coronavirus crisis, with the waiting lists shot up and after a very complicated summer in the health of the islands due to the lack of professionals. The situation was so extreme that the Government of Armengol threatened to cancel summer vacation of health personnel due to the lack of substitutes, since the insular Executive has serious problems to complete the staff of doctors and nurses, who prefer to go to other destinations. The demand to learn Catalan – B1 is demanded from doctors and nurses – has also led to the departure of doctors from the Islands to other parts of Spain.

The nationalists, who need to start differentiating themselves in the face of the elections scheduled for 2023, have grabbed onto one of their flags, the Catalan language, to activate your electorate and tighten the rope with your government partners. Even the Obra Cultural Balear (OCB) has threatened to take to the streets if the doctors and nurses do not speak Catalan. The separatist entity ensures that the Catalan language “walks like crabs” and has set its objective in public health, where it wants to apply a “shock plan” to guarantee the right of users to “express themselves freely in Catalan, without coercion or blackmail ».

The Balearic sister of the Catalan Òmnium Cultural wants the ‘active supply’ principle to be applied immediately in all health centers and that there be an explicit invitation to use the Catalan language if the user so wishes. It also proposes that “there should not be a single person” in customer service who is not competent in Catalan. “It is not only a matter of complying with the Law, but the most obvious expression of the basic principle of good medical care,” defends the OCB, which in recent months has devoted itself to bringing to light several cases of “linguistic attacks”, reproaching to health workers coming from abroad or from the peninsula who are not able to understand the patient when they speak to him in Catalan.

The OCB requires the socialist Francina Armengol to publicly commit to the linguistic rights of the citizens of the Balearic Islands and to make a public appeal to all citizens to use the Catalan language without fear of suffering any type of discrimination. If the insular Executive continues to ignore this situation, the OCB will launch a series of mobilizations.

Schism among government partners

The linguistic issue has generated a schism between the partners of the tripartite government. A part of the bases of the nationalists of Més, as well as members of the executive, they demand more belligerence and forcefulness against the PSOE. The party’s coordinator, Antoni Noguera, speaks of the “passive attitude” of the Socialists and threatens to take the issue to the governing council.

The regional secretary for the University and Language Policy, the former ERC deputy Agustina Vilaret, has reproached the Balearic Health Service – governed by the PSOE – for minimizing the impact of the 58 complaints that the Language Rights Office has received since it opened 10 months ago. ‘A single discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. Intolerance and violence cannot be tolerated, ”denounced Vilaret, who endorses language immersion in classrooms and has not yet come out to defend any linguistic discrimination regarding Spanish.

The Ministry of Health and Consumption maintains the type and defends that each year there are more than 10 million interactions between professional and patient and that, therefore, these 58 complaints presented represent 0.00058% of the total interrelationships. The Language Rights Office was opened in December 2020 with the aim of alleviating the “pain of not speaking Catalan”, as announced then by the Minister of Education, Martí March, despite the fact that, in principle, it was born to guarantee the right to use Spanish in public administration.

“To belittle a patient because in a moment of maximum vulnerability, in the face of the disease, he expresses himself in his language, it is an act of meanness and total lack of responsibility, intolerable in a public service”, criticized the vice president of the Consell de Mallorca , the independentista Bel Busquets.

Podemos has joined the complaint of the econacionalistas and reminded the Government that its “obligation to guarantee the use of Catalan anywhere in this land.” “I have the right to express myself anywhere in my land in my mother tongue, Catalan,” defended Deputy Antonia Jover in a message on Twitter, picked up by Europa Press. “Nobody can prevent me or deny it, says the Statute of Autonomy,” he stressed.

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