Amendments are being submitted to Quebec’s health reform, Bill 15.
Health minister Christian Dubé says the status quo is no longer acceptable and that his reform is the answer to better access to care.
But opposition parties fundamentally disagree and they are not alone.
Dr. Steven Grover is a physician and researcher in Montreal.
He says Bill 15, the province’s health-care reform, fails to recognize the immediate short-term issue we’re facing, notably, “A shortage of health-care professionals and tremendous demand for health-care services as we come out of this pandemic.”
Grover says without addressing that, Bill 15 won’t help improve access to care, and neither will the bill’s move to centralize decision-making.
Bill 15 proposes to create Santé Québec, a provincial agency that would oversee the public health-care system.
Its role would be to provide services and manage resources.
The goal is to reduce wait times in emergency rooms, cut surgery waiting lists and improve the overall patient experience.
Besides not addressing staff recruitment and retention, the opposition criticizes the elimination of regional health boards where volunteers and health-care professionals act as checks and balances.
“The fact that the Minister would eliminate powers from them in order to put them in the hands of one bureaucrat, that’s a problem to us,” says André Fortin, the Liberal health critic.
For Quebec solidaire, the bill is a tool to further rely on the private sector.
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“The Minister is going all-in with the private sector with a bill that pretends to work on efficiency, which is not the case,” says Vincent Marissal, Quebec solidaire’s health critic.
The health minister defended his bill.
“There are many, many things in this project that are linked either to the employees or to the patients,” Dubé said.
As for Grover, he urges Dubé to listen to more stakeholders and take his time with the reform process.
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