Could Liberal healthcare reform be a threat to English institutions?

MONTREAL – Health Minister Gaetan Barrette tabled a bill Thursday to completely overhaul Quebec‘s health care system.

But with these proposed changes, English institutions across the province are worried about whether or not they will be able to keep their independence under the new reform and whether there could be a negative impact on the quality of life of their patients.

“I’m scared that the kids won’t get services that they need,” Judy Martin, the Chair of Batshaw Youth and Family Services.

“We’re a little bit scared that when we’re swallowed up as a big institution, which is what it seems we are going to become, that our kids will be forgotten.”

WATCH: How Bill 10 could affect English institutions

According to Bill 10, the goal is to “facilitate and simplify public access to services, improve the quality and safety of care and make the network more efficient and effective.”

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READ MORE: Quebec’s Health Minister promises ‘substantial’ changes to network

The bill means to do this by merging hospitals, youth protection centres, mental institutions and other health facilities under 28 boards of directors, as opposed to the current 200.

Across the province, the bill proposes to abolish 18 regional agencies and merge around 180 health and social services centres into 28 mega-centres.

Montreal would be split into five Centres integrés de santé et de services sociaux (CISS): west, centre, southeast, north and east.

WATCH: This isn’t the first fight for Anglo institutions
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On Montreal’s West Island the government proposes completely abolishing the boards of directors of eight institutions and merging them all under one board.

“We have an enormously engaged board of directors,” said Martin.

“We have clinical staff, we have administrative staff, members of the community, with different areas of expertise that we need to govern. There’s no guarantee that that’s what’s going to happen with the new board.”

The seven institutions to be merged are:

In central Montreal, the government proposes merging ten institutions under one board of directors.

The boards of each of these institutions would be abolished.

“The composition of their boards of directors, whose members, for the most part independent directors, [will] be appointed by the Minister of Health and Social Services,” states the bill.
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The MUHC, the CHUM, Sainte-Justine Hospital and the Montreal Heart Institute, will continue to operate with their own boards of directors according to the bill.

WATCH: Gaetan Barrette responds to English healthcare concerns

But the minister would have the power to appoint the members of the board including the president and director.

READ MORE: Government reaches a deal with general practitioners

The bill also proposes to give the Health Minister “new powers with regard to the regional and supraregional institutions, in particular the power to prescribe rules relating to their organizational structure and management.”

WATCH: Reorganizing Quebec’s entire healthcare system

Despite worries from the English community, Barrette insists Anglophone rights will stay protected.

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“I understand people have an emotional attachment to their institutions,” he said.

To read the entire bill:

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