(Québec) Two groups representing users of the health network fear that the creation of Santé Québec “reduces the presence of citizens” within institutions. They also question the establishment of a national user committee.
The Council for the Protection of Patients and the Provincial Regrouping of User Committees (RPCU) are concerned that Minister Christian Dubé’s reform will result in a significant reduction in the number of user committees across the network. The two organizations are calling for the maintenance of user and resident committees in all facilities in the network where care is provided.
“Users need us to defend their rights, support them and monitor them. We want user and resident committees in all facilities for all missions,” said RPCU Executive Director Sylvie Tremblay. The RPCU and the Council for the Protection of Patients will be heard during parliamentary consultations on Minister Dubé’s bill, which begin on Wednesday.
The Health and Welfare Commissioner, Joanne Castonguay, the Auditor General of Quebec, Guylaine Leclerc, and the former President of the Commission for the Study of Health and Social Services, Michel Clair, open the ball Wednesday. Consultations on Bill 15 – a brick of some 300 pages – run until May 19 with a two-week break for the consideration of supply.
In its reform, the Legault government plans to create a brand new state corporation, Santé Québec, which will centralize all the operational aspects of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, which will focus on orientations and strategic planning. .
The legislative text provides that a users’ committee be established for each Santé Québec establishment. The establishments are the CISSS and CIUSSS which will now be called Santé Québec including the territorial designation, for example Santé Québec-Estrie. “This is where we think we lose”, illustrates the president and director general of the Council for the protection of the sick, Paul Brunet.
Mr. Brunet points out that several hospitals and CLSCs currently have their own users’ committee. According to him, there is “no guarantee” in the bill that these committees will be maintained, which would result in the abolition of “several dozen or even a hundred” committees. “We [come] to reduce the presence of citizens, and therefore of democracy,” he laments.
Ms. Tremblay is particularly concerned that the most vulnerable people in society will suffer the effects.
According to the legislative text, a committee of residents nevertheless remains in each accommodation facility.
On the eve of the start of the consultations, Minister Christian Dubé recalled on Tuesday that his bill is “perfectible” and that he is open to proposals from the groups that will parade before him.
“That’s why we have about forty groups who will come over the next few weeks to present their briefs and suggestions to us, and it will be a great pleasure to adjust to the needs in order to serve Quebec patients well,” said he said at the Blue Salon, in response to the deputy for Rosemont, Vincent Marissal.
In a press scrum, the Minister said that what he had “heard so far are people who want us to succeed” in this overhaul of the health network which aims to make it more efficient.
The Council for the Protection of Patients and the RPCU are questioning the relevance of creating a national users’ committee as provided for in Bill 15. According to the government, this committee will be created at Santé Québec. He must “ensure the surveillance” of user committees across the network and his members will be appointed by the board of directors of Santé Québec, which makes Mr. Brunet wince.
According to him, the members could then be tempted to be told what Health Quebec wants to hear rather than give an accurate portrait of the situation. Instead, he recommends that the government appoint the Council for the Protection of the Sick as an independent body and adviser. “If you want the right time, we’ll give it to you,” says Brunet.
Minister Christian Dubé also had reason to celebrate on Tuesday. His bill to limit the use of private healthcare placement agencies was passed by the National Assembly. The legislative text provides for freeing the network of independent labor by 2026 by imposing price ceilings and financial penalties on establishments that do not meet the targets. For large centers like Montreal and Quebec, establishments will have to do without agencies as of 2024. “It gives us time to make the link between the negotiation of collective agreements which is done in parallel. What we want is to bring people back as quickly as possible […] into the public network, ”explained Mr. Dubé on Tuesday. The Minister of Health and Social Services also believes that the rapid passage of the bill on agencies, like that on health data a little earlier, is “good omen” for Bill 15 .