Application of Bill 20 : The FMSQ Will Not Be Intimidated by Minister Barrette

Montreal, December 18, 2017 – In reaction to the article which appeared in La Presse this morning, the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) deplores the fact that the Minister of Health, Gaétan Barrette, is once again acting in a unilateral fashion, manipulating statistics, brandishing his stick, and using the media and the population for his own ends. "The Federation cannot be any clearer – medical specialists will not be threatened nor intimidated by Gaétan Barrette," said the President of the FMSQ, Dr Diane Francœur.

The Federation had committed itself to specific targets within the framework of the four measures to improve access to specialized care which resulted from Bill 20. "Our members have worked in an exemplary way and continue to do everything within their power to respect our part of the agreement. We have obtained probative results benefiting patients who, in spite of what the Minister may think, are not just numbers," she added.

The agreement in question also included a counterpart commitment from the government which it did not respect. And now, the Minister has gone on the attack, providing data that contradicts its principal advisor for this dossier, Mr. Martin Forgues, who as the person responsible for overseeing the four measures, declared last Friday that data from the MSSS could not be used because it was not reliable. The best example of this is in fact the CRDS (Centre de répartition des demandes de services) which has never functioned correctly because the Ministère de la Santé did not provide it with the resources needed.

"I insist," said Dr Francœur, "the FMSQ is not asking for any changes in the rules regarding the application of the agreement on Bill 20, such as the Minister agreed to with the FMOQ. But, the law simply cannot be applied to medical specialists because the government did not respect its own commitments.

"Once again, the Minister chooses confrontation. One thing is certain, medical specialists will not be the ones to pay for the government's failure to ensure they can work in the conditions that are necessary to provide care.

"If Minister Barrette persists in denying his commitments, continues his attempts at intimidation, and stubbornly tries to swing his stick against medical specialists from January onwards, we will take note of his decision and withdraw from all the measures provided for in Bill 20," concluded Dr Francœur.

The FMSQ intends to reveal more details regarding its intentions at a press conference which will take place on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 11 :00 a.m.

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec represents more than 10,000 medical specialists certified in one of 59 recognized medical specialties.