Victoria Hospital and WRHA sign declaration to improve care in French

Created in 2017 by the national organization Société Santé en Français, this document aims to provide guidance to healthcare institutions and organizations wishing to offer better care in French.

Since then, 898 people and 45 organizations have signed this document. Signatories in Manitoba include Victoria Hospital, Saint-Boniface Hospital, Université de Saint-Boniface and the Compassion Network.

For the Director General of Santé en Français, Anie Bédard, this signature is a sign of a commitment on the part of theWRHA and Victoria General Hospital.

However, it recalls that these two organizations are already designated as bilingual, i.e. already have a linguistic obligation towards the francophone community.

It’s a way for their employees to bring their bilingual designation to life. »

A quote from Anie Bédard, Managing Director of Santé en Français

The coordinator of the French language serviceWRHAAngèle Matyi assures us that signing this declaration will encourage people to take better account of the needs of Francophones in a minority situation.

Véronique Demers, a GP in Winnipeg who sometimes consults at Victoria General Hospital, observes this Especially in difficult times, people feel more comfortable speaking in their mother tongue.

In fact, earlier this year, a large pan-Canadian study published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association confirmed this reality by confirming that patients treated in their language would be in better health.

A binding statement, non-binding

But apart from a simple commitment, signing up for this tool does not limit organizations.

According to Anie Bédard himself, this is a statement non-binding but appealing.

It’s also marketing, it’s easy to present, it’s easy to show, so it can lead to discussions with management and with employees.She adds.

She believes that one of the challenges will be to achieve better engagement of English-speaking middle staff within hospital settings.

Angèle Matyi agrees and specifies that this initiative aims to do just that educate employees of Victoria Hospital and show that the health of Francophones is important

At our management level, they are committed, they care, so it has to start from the top to get to the bottom.

Between challenges and hope

If signing the Ottawa Declaration remains a step and good news, we are a long way from paying lip service to French language healthcare in Manitobarecognizes Anie Bedard.

There is hope, however, as things are getting better and better according to her, but there are many challenges.

The question of recruitment has been raised for several yearsWRHA Difficulties in filling all proposed bilingual positions.

According to its latest annual report, in 2021, of the 1,043 designated bilingual posts, 448 were vacant or understaffed, or 43%.

A trend that, according to the head of French services, seems to be emerging again this yearWRHAAngèle Matyi, who is currently confirming that around half of the 1,010 bilingual positions are filleds.

The Ottawa Declaration mentions this issue very clearly as the signatories commit to it Increasing the number of health professionals trained in French.

Anie Bédard also names this personnel issue as one of the major challenges.

We would like to have more staff and see people who pride themselves on being bilingualShe says.

The other big challenge is the systematization of the active offer in both official languages.

An important promotion according to Véronique Demers, who always offers one during her visits to the Victoria Hospital Hello Hello to his patients.

If I didn’t show up in French I don’t think people would be asking, so I think making this active offer is very important. »

A quote from Véronique Demers, general practitioner in Winnipeg

Since 2020 theWRHA has also made the training of the offer in French mandatory for all new employees.

A training that bears fruit, says Angèle Matyi, who observes it Employees try harder.

Darren Pena

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