Horizon Health hospitals auditing bilingual patient services

New Brunswick’s Horizon Health Network is using mystery patients to ensure its staff is greeting people in both official languages.

The audits are being conducted at hospitals in Moncton, Fredericton, Saint John and Miramichi.

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Pauline Babineau, the organization’s director of official languages, says fewer than half of the patients at Horizon Network hospitals are being greeted in both official languages.

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She said statistics show patients who do not speak the same language as their health-care providers have a 70 per cent higher rate of being admitted to hospital due to a lack of communication.

Improving the rate of bilingual greetings is a way to cut costs, she said.

The health network implemented a new official languages policy last year that requires all employees to greet people in both English and French.

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Employees who are not bilingual are expected to find someone who can provide service in the language requested by the patient.


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