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Area health services need balanced, sensitive approach to language

May 29th,2024 | Letters

The Editor,

Unfortunately, I had a medical issue this past couple of weeks. From the moment I entered the Wakefield Hospital emergency and through all the subsequent nursing visits both there and at the CLSC in Chelsea, the health service has been excellent and very convivial.

Being fairly competent in French, I was able to navigate the system and communicate with the staff who attended to me. Virtually all contact was in French, but my sense was that English was not on offer.

One surprising observation was the absence of English in the waiting room at the CLSC in Chelsea. Not a single message on its walls or noticeboards; not a single brochure on display in English. Some of the notices/brochures were about serious health issues and the services or resources available. How would an English-only speaker know?

If I were an English-only speaker, I think my positive experience might have been different—perhaps superficial, disorienting, or unsettling.

We live in a region that still has a large English minority, and surely, there should be a more balanced, sensitive approach.

David Maitland

Chelsea, QC

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At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

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