Medical specialists don't want to rock boat on recently signed agreement
Published Thursday, August 9, 2018 9:49PM EDT
Quebec’s medical specialists aren’t endorsing a political party in the upcoming provincial election, but at the same time, the doctors are warning voters against parties who may want to reopen their agreement with the province.
In February, the specialists’ union reached a deal with the provincial government after three years of public bickering. And the doctors would like to keep it that way.
“We didn’t want to fight, we are much better when we collaborate,” said FMSQ President Dr. Diane Francoeur. “Our goal was to tell the public that even though some parties are showing their big muscle and saying they want to open the agreement, the agreement is signed.”
Both the Coalition Avenir Quebec and Parti Quebecois have pledged to renegotiate the deal if elected but Francoeur said the agreement is already paying dividends for the system. She claimed patients have already seen better access to anesthesiologists in Quebec’s regions and doctors plan to extend operating hours for medical imaging in hospitals.
“It would be really premature to stop all these results that are ready to come,” she said.
Both the PQ and CAQ have criticized the deal’s remuneration aspect, which rises from $4.7 billion a year to $5.4 billion per years in 2023, plus retroactive increases.
“The doctors have gotten a good deal, but we were badly represented by (Health Minister Gaetan) Barrette and (Premier Philippe) Couillard,” said patients’ rights advocate Paul Brunet. “They should answer and be held accountable for that. You can’t blame the doctors for the deal.”
A study comparing the pay of specialists in Quebec to those in other provinces is underway and the doctors have committed to revisit the money issue with the government once it’s completed.
“Our agreement is signed until 2023,” said Francoeur. “We don’t have to discuss money until the study will be done by the end of 2019, why do we need to start fighting on Oct. 2?”