SNP’s Gaelic logo plan for the Scottish ambulance service has been branded as ‘a waste of money’
Some 4,400 workers and over a thousand volunteers are to be given the opportunity to pick up the old tongue as the Holyrood drive to make the language “equal to English” picks up speed.
Under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 all public bodies must draw up plans to create a “sustainable future for Gaelic by raising its status and profile and creating practical opportunities for its use”.
In September 2014, Government quango Bòrd na Gàidhlig issued a notice to the SAS to develop a plan and submit it for the board’s approval.
The service is now asking feedback on its draft proposal which includes additional training sessions, a new logo and signs plus a promise to hold a Gaelic capacity audit to “establish the levels of spoken, reading and writing Gaelic skills among staff”.
There is also an ambition to “improve access to Gaelic interpreting” and introduce “Gaelic awareness training” alongside the actual language classes.
Last night, the Scottish Conservatives admitted they were baffled as to why energy and resources were being poured into Gaelic when there were plenty of other challenges the service has to cope with.
“Given the challenges faced by the Scottish Ambulance Service, this can hardly be something of even remote importance.
“There is absolutely no public demand for this, and people will see it for the waste of money it is.
“The SNP should be supporting ambulance staff to improve response times and cut down on sickness absence, not playing political games with paramedics.”
Last night the Scottish Ambulance Service said they had to present a Gaelic plan under Government legislation and insisted the cost impact would be “minimum”.
A spokesman added: “The Scottish Ambulance Service is currently consulting publicly on its draft Gaelic Language plan to 2020, which sets out how it will play its part in sustaining the future of Gaelic and creating practical opportunities for its use.
“The draft plan anticipates that any changes in signage, or branding, such as on vehicles or uniforms, would only be undertaken when they are being renewed or replaced in a normal lifecycle so as not to incur additional costs.”