Adoption of Bill 20 : Additional constraints for physicians, but no firm commitment by the government to increase access to care

Montreal, November 10, 2015 – Following the adoption of Bill 20 by the National Assembly, the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ), has this to say.

During the general audiences and individual consultations on the subject of this Bill, the FMSQ indicated that, as a whole, the Bill was unacceptable in both form and content. "The FMSQ's opinion has not changed. This Bill is coercive towards Quebec's physicians and attributes enormous powers to the Minister of Health, in particular via Section 39. As was the case with Bill 10, the hundred or so amendments, tabled and adopted while the Bill was being studied, have resulted in the adoption of a text that is substantially different from its initial version. This way of proceeding is alarming for democracy and generates numerous questions on the real intentions of the Minister of Health and his government," indicated the President of the FMSQ, Dr Diane Francœur.

Are they really aimed at improving access ?

The problem of access to specialized care is not the result of a lack of willingness on the part of physicians, a decrease in productivity or the failure of certain incentives that were implemented. These are false premises. Medical specialists are ready to do more, but everything depends on the means placed at their disposal in hospital centres. "Physicians have less access to outpatient clinics, less time in operating rooms, fewer beds in which to hospitalize their patients. These are THE problems that affect access which have in fact been recognized for years. If the means are not there to care for our patients, there won't be any increase in access for the population," added Dr Francœur.

Assisted Procreation Program

The first day this program was implemented by the Charest government, the FMSQ deplored its improvised nature. At the parliamentary committee, the Federation asked the government to refocus the program in order to guarantee access for medically-justified cases. The Minister of Health chose to abolish the public program. "Once again, the government acted in a strictly accounting fashion, without taking into consideration the obstacles that this new piece of legislation will create for families," deplored Dr Francœur.

Negotiations Between the MSSS and the FMSQ

Negotiations between the FMSQ and the Ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux are continuing. "We have always insisted on the fact that improving access to care for the population cannot result from the application of a coercive and punitive law, but rather requires calling upon the collaboration and expertise of the professionals who care for patients every day. Arriving at an agreement is the only way to produce tangible results and we will pursue our efforts in this direction." The Federation's governing bodies have been called to a meeting in Quebec City this Thursday.

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