(Montreal) The College of Physicians of Quebec unveils an alarming report following a tour of health establishments carried out by its president. Dr. Mauril Gaudreault describes a dilapidated network where access to care is inequitable from one place to another.

In an open letter published to accompany the report, Dr. Gaudreault argues that “if no structuring action is taken, many citizens will continue to be deprived of access to the health care to which they are entitled”.

Based on data from a survey conducted on behalf of the CMQ, its president deplores the fact that nearly one in two respondents said they had given up consulting for a health problem out of the belief that they would be incapable of get an appointment within a reasonable time.

In the field, Dr. Gaudreault says he met several user committees who denounced the fact that a patient, depending on his region of residence, may not have access to the same basic care or specialized care.

This inequality in access to health care could be explained by the inability of the network to deploy medical staff uniformly in each of the hospitals in the same region.

For Dr. Gaudreault, it is “another form of two-tier medicine.” He adds that the dilapidated health infrastructure in some regions is hampering the recruitment of personnel, while the shortage of labor is felt everywhere.

This reality would severely affect physicians who work in the regions as they “are faced with heartbreaking choices and great distress”, it is underlined, when their establishment finds itself without an available cardiologist or when their emergency department comes close to breaking service.

Also according to the CMQ report, the Quebec system is lagging behind in the face of demographic issues such as the aging and displacement of the population. In the opinion of the college, the network has a responsibility to better serve the communities in terms of mental health care and home care.

Throughout his Quebec tour, Dr. Gaudreault visited a dozen establishments as well as the four faculties of medicine. The survey cited by the College of Physicians was conducted among 2,700 doctors and 1,100 citizens.