MONTREAL -- The Ordre des psychologues du Québec says that the Minister of Health and Social Services is preventing thousands of mental health professionals from being used in the health network by refusing to break down simple bureaucratic obstacles.

The president of the order, Christine Grou, points out that Bill 43, which aims to promote access to health services, provides for nurses who are specialists in mental health to make diagnoses.

In her opinion, this opening should encourage Minister Danielle McCann to allow other professionals including psychologists to make diagnoses following assessments. Expanding the diagnosis capacity would add resources to a sector that badly needs it. She maintains that with the status quo, the government is depriving itself of the services of 5,000 psychologists.

Grou said that the College of Physicians of Quebec supports a request for an amendment that the three opposition parties in the National Assembly support that would allow psychologists to diagnose and thus expand accessibility in mental health.

In a statement issued Thursday, Dr. Mauril Gaudreault, president of the College of Physicians, said that more than ever, it was necessary to work in concert with other professionals in order to improve Quebecers' access to health care.

On the other hand, the Order of Psychologists denounced the requirement for certification by the doctor, which it describes as an unnecessary administrative step.

The organization said that for the population to be entitled to services, exemptions or financial assistance, they must produce a medical certificate attesting that they have an impairment or disorder. The order points out, however, that the evaluation was often carried out beforehand by another competent professional authorized by law.

Not only does the requirement for certification by the doctor add an unnecessary administrative step, according to the Order of Psychologists, but its clinical added value has not been demonstrated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2020.