The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec unconditionally supports the call for nurse practitioners

Montreal, November 19, 2010  – "At a time when we hear of the shortage of first-line medical staff preventing patients in Québec from having access to family physicians and when emergency rooms are bursting at the seams, it is essential that we rapidly open the door to practical and efficient solutions in the interest of patients." This comment came from the President of the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ), Dr. Gaétan Barrette, following the broadcast by Radio-Canada of a report in its TV show ENQUÊTE, aired on Thursday, November 18.

Already, in the middle of the summer break, immediately after the Minister's announcement that 500 positions for nurse practitioners would be created for first-line care, the Fédération was surprised to learn that this would take up to five years to materialize. "There are solutions available to the problem of access to care for the public health system, but they are only being applied a drop at a time," continued Dr. Barrette. "We have to accelerate the rate of training for nurse practitioners in universities in order for them to reach the public health system as quickly as possible."

To do so, the Fédération believes that incentives should be offered to nurses interested in following this cutting-edge training so that they will be able to complete the program, or else the available positions will not be filled within a reasonable delay. It should be noted that the FMSQ was the first medical group to support the FIQ in its demands to the government by insisting on the fact that the role assumed by nursing staff in the public health system is an essential one.

The FMSQ is of the opinion that urgent reflection is needed to clarify the role that nurse practitioners can and must assume, in the very short term, to increase accessibility to health care.

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec numbers close to 9,000 members in Québec, representing 35 medical specialties. It is the sole organization recognized by government with respect to negotiating medical specialists' collective agreements, and is also consulted on all aspects of the organization of medical care in Québec.