For several weeks now, the technical negotiating committees have been laying the groundwork for the negotiations that are officially scheduled to begin in September 2010.
It is clear in our minds that we will first have to debate the financial conditions before anything else. We cannot see how to launch our major campaign to raise the profile of family medicine and to reach the point where every Quebec resident has a family physician without investing the required amounts. This being said, we will quickly see the direction that the talks will take. The table has been set.
On the local scene, it is clear that at least two situations are of great concern: Program 68 launched by the Agence and the quotas imposed in the delivery rooms in the Montreal region.
The goal of Program 68 is to close chronic care beds in the region's hospitals and to quickly transfer these patients, who may be more or less stable, to chronic care beds.
From the Agence's point of view, they have the situation under control. Physicians have been redirected to other fields, the beds have been closed and there are a few more beds for acute care.
On the receiving end of these measures, the situation is reversed. The budgets have not followed, the shortages persist and the nursing staff is not ready for such a move. Complaints are piling up and the risk that things will fall apart in these practice settings is greater than ever.
The Association has set up a committee, chaired by Dr. Benoît Brodeur, to look into the situation. We are trying to meet quickly with the Agence on this matter and will keep you informed of how things are progressing.
As for quotas in the delivery rooms, the problem varies from one institution to another, but demand remains high everywhere. There is no way to stop women from delivering. General practitioners must not bear the brunt of these quotas, while specialists benefit from them. We are actively studying this issue with the Federation and its legal department.
While they are imposing limits on the number of deliveries, citing lack of space, they are implementing an in vitro fertilization program that will increase the number of deliveries by close to 7,000 per year!
We will be taking every useful measure possible in this dossier.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Dr. Marc-André Asselin