Réseau Santé has published a new report that provides an in-depth analysis of the offer and demand for health services in French in Nova Scotia. The report stems from a survey of 100 members of the province’s Acadian and francophone community conducted in July 2018.
The survey sought to understand their individual experiences with respect to the active offer of health services in French and requests for these services in facilities run by the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre, as well as to ask them about their use of the 811 service line and access to written materials. Active offer is a proactive offer of a range of health services that are available in French, meaning that they are clearly announced, visible and easy to access at any time, without putting the responsibility on patients to request the services.
Among the report’s findings is the high value ascribed to French-language health services among members of the community. Indeed, 69% of respondents think that receiving health services in French is essential or very important and 24% think that it is more or less important. Respondents cite the importance of understanding the health professional and being understood as a patient in return.
When it came to their experiences in health care facilities, 81% of survey respondents indicated that they did not receive an active offer of health services in French. However, when services were offered in French, the quality of interactions in French seems to have been good. Respondents also noted a number of obstacles that impeded access to health services in French, namely the lack of any indication that services were available in French (52% of respondents), as well as concerns that waiting times would be longer if they requested services in French (32% of respondents).
“This analysis reaffirms the importance of active offer as a way of encouraging requests for health services in French and will allow us to work more effectively with our partners, including the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the IWK Health Centre and the Department of Health and Wellness,” said Gisèle Thibodeau, president of Réseau Santé. “We would like to give our sincere thanks to the many members of the community who completed the survey for their valuable input.”
The report can be consulted in French and English on Réseau Santé’s website at www.reseausantene.ca/reports.
Pierre Roisné, executive director