OPINION: QCGN demands health reform rethink
Submitted by the Quebec Community Groups Network
The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) urges all Quebecers to sign a petition demanding the provincial government put an immediate hold on its proposed Bill 15, which would launch a massive centralization of health-care management and dramatically reduce community roles in the governance of health and social services institutions everywhere in Quebec.
The deadline for signing the petition is two weeks away, as there are fears the government may seek to impose closure to push the 300-page bill through the National Assembly before it rises for its holiday break on Dec. 8.
“We heard experts tell us Bill 15 is focused on structure and governance and will do nothing to address the crises in our emergency rooms, delays in surgeries, the lack of family doctors or other shortcomings of our health care system,” said QCGN president Eva Ludvig. “What it will do is centralize government control of the health and social services network under an umbrella organization called Santé Québec, to which all 30 heads of regional authorities would report, while abolishing the boards of all local institutions and removing any management role from patients, families, volunteers and communities – the people the health-care system exists to serve.”
We note that six former premiers from different parties took the extraordinary step of writing an open letter urging the government to reverse course on a bill they described as “dangerous” which would do little to improve efficiencies in the health and social services network.
“The Quebec government had studied the more centralized Alberta Health Care system as a model to emulate,” said QCGN director general Sylvia Martin-Laforge. “The problem is that Alberta has just begun to dismantle its bloated, centralized system, in part because it wasn’t effec- tive in dealing with the lack of primary care and overcrowded emergency rooms – two of the biggest problems in Quebec’s health-care network. Does Quebec really want to follow a path that failed elsewhere?”
Greater centralization will also negatively affect the management of minority-language access to services, the webinar was told, as local committees in charge of English-language access programs will be replaced by a central body, far removed from individual communities.
“Whether in education or in health care, the government has demonstrated a penchant for centralizing power and control,” Ludvig said. “We urge Quebecers to pay attention and speak out before this steamroller of a bill becomes law.”
The petition urges the Quebec government to recon- sider Bill 15 to avoid negative effects on patients, volunteers, researchers and local communities; hold additional consultations so citizens and groups who did not have the opportunity to be heard can be; and amend the bill to preserve governance and proximity to the community in health and social services, including in English.
People who sign the online petition should expect to get an email seeking confirmation of their signature. Only after they submit that confirmation will their signature be added.
The petition can be found on the National Assembly website at assnat.qc.ca/fr/exprimez- votre-opinion/petition/Petition-10545/index.html.