“Improve services for everyone”
years of service.
In an interview with the Stanstead Journal, Mrs. Goodfellow explained how she first became involved with the hospital: “I’d been asked to serve on a committee to study the merger of the four hospitals: CHU Fleurimont, Hotel Dieu, St. Vincent de Paul and the Sherbrooke Hospital. I was in favour of the merger and felt a responsibility that the English community would be wellserved.”
According to Mrs. Goodfellow, at the time of the hospital mergers, “emotions were running high.” “People were very upset. They had supported, through donations, through volunteer work, the Sherbrooke Hospital and had a big emotional attachment to it which I shared. But my opinion was that, with advanced technology and more sophistication, we needed a larger entity with more specialties and services.”
In 1997, in a tough election race, Mrs. Goodfellow was elected to the merged hospital’s first Executive Board. “I got the most votes of everyone running – I was quite proud of that. I had supporters from both the English and the French community.”
“One of the first steps was to have the Board approve a policy that hospital services would be provided in English and figure out how to do it,” mentioned Mrs. Goodfellow. “Early on, the hospital partnered with St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. We went twice to Winnipeg with a delegation from the CHUS to see how they handled their minority population and we based our policy on that. The hospital also hired a liaison officer for the English community,” she added.
Besides being a high profile member of the CHUS Executive Board, Mrs. Goodfellow sat on several hospital committees. “The most constant one was the
Comité Clientele which evolved into the Comité de vigilance et qualité and the Comité des usagers.” Mrs. Goodfellow also spoke frequently to English groups to help them become familiar with the larger institution and learn how to get through its system. “It wasn’t only about getting services in English, but about getting good services. I wanted people to use the Complaint committee, explaining to them that although it’s a negative word, it can have a positive effect if used to improve things.”
Another important initiative that she helped get going was the English instruction for hospital personnel. “The English instruction was always on a volunteer basis. The courses were well received by the employees and are still taking place; there are always more applicants than there are places.”
“It was always my objective to improve services for everyone, and make sure those services were available in English. I also worked hard to support advance-
ments in technology,” said Marjorie.
Another committee, of which she is the chair, that Mrs. Goodfellow serves on
is the Comité provinciale pour la prestation des services de santé et de services sociaux en langue Anglaise, the committee that submits a notice to the government every couple of years listing the hospital’s bilingual services. Fittingly, in Mrs. Goodfellow’s final meeting on that committee in May, Mrs. Goodfellow was able to say: “Instead of listing all of the services that are bilingual, why can’t we just say ‘all’ the services, and the Executive Board agreed. What was really meaningful about that was the reaction of the Board members – they passed that motion with enthusiasm. I’ve had so much cooperation over the years; the negative people have been few and far between.”
“There’s less need now for people to get in touch with me. Communication at the hospital has improved, the English clientele is more knowledgeable, more comfortable and less apprehensive. I’m hoping that more and more bilingual people from the English community will find employment at the CHUS. It certainly helped a lot when the Nursing Program began at Champlain. When someone goes to the hospital and they see a relative or a neighbour working there, it’s a comfort,” commented Mrs. Goodfellow.
It wasn’t surprising to learn that Marjorie has no intention of slowing down after she steps down from the Hospital Board. “I have a lot of projects planned and I want to do some writing. My family moved here in the early 1900’s and I live in the house that my grandfather bought; I’m very interested in local history. That’s what I plan on spending my next career on!”
At the recent CHUS Gala d’Excellence, Marjorie Goodfellow (middle) received an award for her organization of the CHUS Radiothon from Jacques Fortier, the president of the CHUS Board, and CHUS Foundation staff member, Marie-Josée Gaudette.