December 2017 – After Bill 130 : Mind the Boomerang !
After Bill 130 : Mind the Boomerang !
We predicted a nightmare, but it was obviously denied by the Minister. Which is it then? Who's right ? In my opinion, it's the tip of the iceberg which, instead of melting, becomes more and more visible.
Some of you wrongly believe that in denouncing this menace, we are milking it for "political gain." I would answer that the enemy is among us! By minimizing the effects of a Bill that has not yet been applied, we let it infiltrate and insinuate itself quietly into our practice. And when the moment comes, it will hit hard ! For some unhappy victims of Bill 130, it will be the end of a career. Think, in particular, of physicians who, after decades of very loyal services in our public health system, will be shown the door because they no longer meet the criteria of "full-time equivalent" which are set unilaterally by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Michel Bureau.
In a Hospital Close to You
Like any other profession or craft, it is also true that in our Federation there are disruptive physicians. They are a minority and we will not defend the indefensible. And yet, to control them, the DSPs, the heads of departments or services will not find a magical and rapid solution in Bill 130. They will have to compile dossiers, collect proof, meet the physician, document an action plan, before confirming failure. Just as it's always been done... It isn't a law they need, but rather support and training.
This being said, the renewal of our Agreement, expired since March 31, 2015, is still not signed because the Minister refuses to negotiate the issue of our conditions of practice. Meanwhile, the heads of departments and services are neither paid nor trained because these terms are indeed part of the clauses to be renewed.
The heads need to know how to manage certain difficult colleagues who are, in a way, the consequence of failing to apply rules already in effect.
The Reign of Terror and Top Down Violence
It is well known that Gaétan Barrette terrorizes (the word is appropriate!) his presidents and executive directors who, in turn, terrorize their managers and staff. Assistant Deputy Minister Bureau terrorizes DSPs and encourages them to do the same with their physicians. This climate of terror, menace, manipulation has one aim only : weaken the rights of the medical specialist and force him to give in to inappropriate decisions. And what can we say about the internal omerta !
Each day, physicians tell us of unacceptable situations they experience in their institutions. These cases should be denounced publicly, because citizens and patients need to be informed. And yet, physicians don't dare speak publicly for fear of retribution. Some have done so and were severely reprimanded.
We are in 2017, soon to be 2018. Dictators don't belong here, not in the healthcare network nor elsewhere. Worse, autocracy undermines people's morale. For proof, the Quebec Physicians' Health Program has registered an increase of 38% in new cases last year. These are colleagues who can't take it anymore and doesn't include those who have chosen to end it permanently. It's not a fantasy.
Your Patients First and Foremost !
More than ever, I ask you to fight to preserve your professional independence in the name of your patients. They are the ones you owe your loyalty to. As medical specialists, you cannot back down when faced with what must be defended in their name. You are not employees of the DSPs nor of the presidents and executive directors. Don't accept the unacceptable. Don't make your patients endure what you wouldn't want to suffer, because of potential contracts being imposed.
This is my last editorial of the year 2017. A year that is closing with either an open negotiation or by a blockage that is quite involuntary on our part. All year, we have worked hard, in particular to renew our Agreement in a realistic and responsible fashion. We cannot back down, because negotiating our conditions of practice is part of our intrinsic values. And, as you indicated in our survey last spring, conditions of practice worry you more than does the financial aspect.
I wish to sincerely thank our directors, our staff, the members of our Board of directors, and the presidents of our medical associations. Without them all, we wouldn't have a Federation. Together, we can do a lot! While we wait for 2018, I wish all of you my very best for the Holiday period. Rest well. Another difficult year is ahead of us, but let's maintain our morale and find professional satisfaction in caring for our patients !