Preliminary Reactions to Bill 20 from the FMSQ


Montreal, November 28, 2014 – The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) wishes to make known its preliminary reactions to the tabling of Bill 20, An Act to enact the Act to promote access to family medicine and specialized medicine services and to amend various legislative provisions relating to assisted procreation.

Access to Specialized Medicine Services

Insofar as the provisions in the Bill regarding access to specialized medicine services are concerned, the Federation will take whatever time is needed to analyze them, but it seems obvious that the Minister of Health is proceeding with Bill 20 the same way he did with Bill 10, by imposing his point of view rather than working in collaboration with all stakeholders, including physicians.

In a briefing today, the President of the Federation, Dr Diane Francœur, insisted on the fact that physicians are the first to recognize the necessity of improving access to medical care for the population. But to get there, realistic and applicable solutions are needed. "Yesterday, at the exact moment we were meeting with officials from his department to identify potential ways of improving access, the Minister was brandishing his billy club. It must have been close at hand, because he had just used it again this week to deal with pharmacists," said Dr Francœur.

With this Bill, the Minister is insinuating that the problems of access to healthcare are solely attributable to physicians while maintaining that quotas and penalties will solve everything. Nothing can be further from the truth. Medical specialists want to work, but they are the first to deplore the conditions they face each day. "The Minister demands a guarantee of results from physicians, but what guarantee does he offer to healthcare personnel ? He will have to rapidly settle well-known situations such as closed operating suites, defective equipment, insufficient hospital beds, lack of personnel, and many more," adds the President.

The Federation also denounces the fact that, in addition to carrying on with his dictatorial methods, the Minister is again ascribing to himself extraordinary powers through Bill 20, just like he did in the case of Bill 10.

Medically-Assisted Procreation Program

Among other provisions in this Bill, the Minister of Health and Social Services abolishes public coverage of medically-assisted procreation services (MAP).

The President of the Federation, Dr Diane Francœur, wished to remind everyone that the FMSQ had many times insisted on the need to refocus the public MAP program in order to cover only what was medically required, but had never asked that it be abolished.

"This program was created by former Minister of Health, Yves Bolduc, without any prior consultations, but with the greatest improvisation and rashness possible. As for the current Health Minister, he chooses to ignore the recommendations derived from consultations held by the Health and Welfare Commissioner and decides to abolish the program for everyone," indicated Dr Diane Francœur.

"To start with, the government decided to deprive infertile persons of this public service, which doesn't make sense. The Minister is playing with words, and resorting to tax credits will certainly be a financial brake for a good number of these people who will have to start by paying for the overall medical procedure out of their own pockets. Moreover, the Bill proposes that insured people, who were fertile before an oncological treatment, be entitled to fertility preservation services but not to medically-assisted procreation services. How can you have such a limited view of the overall situation ?" continued the President of the FMSQ.

The FMSQ wanted clear boundaries, along with the creation of a single access point and the institution of a registry of births resulting from this program. The Bill does not retain any of these recommendations.

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec represents close to 10,000 medical specialists certified in one of the 53 recognized medical specialties.