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Ambulance Service launches disciplinary action following staff member ‘apartheid’ comments

28 Feb 2021 4 minute read
Ambiwlans. Picture by the Welsh Government

The Welsh Ambulance Service has launched “disciplinary” action against a member of staff who compared the treatment of non-Welsh speakers to “apartheid”

James Moore, who used to be responsible for Organisational Design and Development at Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), which sits within NHS Wales, made the comparison on Facebook in response to a story about plans to introduce more Welsh medium education in local school.

Moore who had been working on a “secondment contract” with the HEIW for 18 months has left that post following “internal discussions” with his former employer, which were the result of a backlash to the remarks, which included condemnation from Aled Roberts, the Welsh Language Commissioner, and Eluned Morgan, the Minister for the Welsh language. Plaid Cymru MS Bethan Sayed had also called for him to resign.

The HEIW said that Moore had now returned to his “substantive employment”, which is with the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust.

The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust described Moore’s comments as “ill-judged and inflammatory” and “fly in the face” of its “commitment to the Welsh language”.

Moore, who is from Sheffield, but lives in Llansteffan, , and had been on secondment with the organisation for 18 months, suggested that it was time for non-Welsh speakers to “stand up to the oppressors”.

He compared Welsh speakers to white people in South Africa during the time the country was under a system of institutionalised racial segregation, which ended in the 1990s.

Moore also asked if non-Welsh speakers “should use different buses” or “different drinking fountains”.

Nation.Cymru contacted James Moore for comment but have not yet received a reply.

Carmarthenshire Council was preparing for a consultation exercise over proposals to introduce changes to Model Church in Wales School in Carmarthen and Ysgol y Felin in Llanelli, which would have seen them move towards intruducing more Welsh medium education from September 2022.

The council later scrapped the consultation with the Model Church in Wales School following a backlash from staff at the school, along with trade and teaching unions.


A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We are aware of ill-judged and inflammatory comments by a member of our staff who until recently had been on secondment to Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) for 18 months.

“We neither condone nor support these comments, which fly in the face of our commitment to the Welsh language and our role as the national ambulance service of Wales. The appropriate action has been initiated in line with the NHS Wales disciplinary policy.”

Moore said: “The English language is the single most important export from the UK and gives us all a huge advantage in the world. Anything that undermines this in the cause of meeting nationalist zealotry harms us all.

“Just imagine if you changed the word English to ‘black’ or (historically in South Africa) ‘coloured’… perhaps non-Welsh speakers should use different buses? Maybe different drinking fountains?

“As was the case in South Africa where the whites were a small minority, is it time for the 80% non-Welsh speakers to stand up to the oppressors to stop the ongoing apartheid?!”

James Moore Welsh language comments

He added: “Bilingualism is great in many parts of the world; however, narrow mindedness, insularity and petty nationalism (which seems to be entirely linked to the Welsh language) opens your mind only to yourself…leaving Wales trailing even further behind in an increasingly global world.”

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) sits alongside Health Boards and Trusts to be the only Special Health Authority within NHS Wales. HEIW has a role in the education, training, development, and shaping of the healthcare workforce in Wales.

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