Adoption of Bill 130 : Political Power Has the Healthcare System under Total Control

Montreal, October 26, 2017 – The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) wishes to make the following comments, very briefly, after the adoption by Quebec's National Assembly of Bill 130, An Act to amend certain provisions regarding the clinical organization and management of health and social services institutions.

"The adoption of this Bill, before an almost totally deserted National Assembly, and in an atmosphere of complete indifference, must be considered by the population of Quebec as marking the darkest hour in the history of specialized medicine and in its capacity to make the best choices for its patients. This Bill marks the end of independent decision-making in institutions and sanctions the complete hold by political powers over the organizational, medical and clinical management of the network. From now on, decisions will no longer be taken by managers and independent physicians, but by the Minister who will impose his views according to his mood and to the front pages of newspapers," declared the President of the FMSQ, Dr Diane Francœur, in reaction to the announcement.

"Adding together all the bad decisions taken over recent years results in physicians and the healthcare staff as a whole being overwhelmed by administrative decisions that don't make sense, neither for them nor for their patients," continued Dr Francœur.

"We will take the time to evaluate the scope of the numerous amendments adopted during the detailed study of this Bill. Let us emphasize that the definitive text of the law has nothing in common with the initial version on which we were asked to comment in parliamentary committee last February. Once again, this way of proceeding is highly debatable, as much on the democratic level as on the ethical one. We will also study the regulations that will follow, but that no one has yet seen. One thing is certain, the additional powers the Minister has granted himself with the support of the parliamentary majority, are once again excessive, even dangerous.

"We have no doubt there will be reasons to contest, taking into consideration the cases of abuse of power which we already observe in healthcare institutions. We must mention that, at the instigation of the Minister of Health, the law was already being applied even before it was adopted, to the detriment of the need for care and services. In this pre-election period, someone with a name and a position will have to answer for everything that is not working in our hospitals. The professional independence of physicians is the last defence that guarantees the quality of care for the population and in this matter we will not compromise," concluded the President of the FMSQ.

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