A citizens’ group in the lower Laurentians says residents in the region are suffering with too few doctors and not enough services for a growing population.

“Don't get sick here, because you are going to have to fight your way in to get help,” said Nel McChristie of Equity in Health for the Lower Laurentians, at a meeting Sunday about navigating the health care system in the region.

The group has met monthly in Two Mountains for the past year and a half, because they worry about people falling through the cracks, even if they're lucky enough to have a family doctor.

“He gave me an appointment for a colonoscopy; he said it would take a year. It took 19 months before someone called me,” said Gordon Wetmore, also a member of the group.

They say the biggest issue isn't quality of care, but rather access to it.

“We are not here to blame the healthcare workers. They are doing their best, they are doing their job. It's the funding, there just isn't enough funding to hire more people,” said Bhanu Kotecha.

There's also been a mini-population boom, explained Duncan Hart Cameron.

“So we've got pressure on our health care services from both ends of the spectrum from retired people that are beginning to use more and more health care services and young families as well,” he said.

They say an outdated provincial funding formula is responsible for the gap.

“I moved into this region 30-plus years ago, and it was more equal to the rest of Quebec at that time,” said Elizabeth J. Sacca. “With the increasing population they got stuck in the old budget so they never adjusted, so it became less and less universal.”

The group has met with almost every political party and said they don't expect new healthcare spending, but are hoping instead for funds to be re-allocated across the province.

A spokesperson from Health Minister Gaetan Barrette's office said they are looking into the group's concerns.

The group plans to move forward, and hopes to have their issue addressed this spring in Quebec's National Assembly.