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Quebec health minister won’t tolerate so-called ‘black market’ baths

QUEBEC CITY — Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette insisted Thursday he won’t tolerate public-sector orderlies offering to give seniors black market baths.

“Today I gave an order that was sent to all directors across the province, all 33 of them, telling them that those services have to be rendered properly,” he said.

Wednesday, the Coalition Avenir Québec discovered that orderlies in the Laurentians were giving seniors a second bath in exchange for payment.

The province’s health ministry later confirmed the practice was widespread.

“We have a letter saying the government has known about this since 2011.”

Paradis said orderlies working under the table is not only immoral, it’s illegal.

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But Quebec’s Patient Protection Council said it understands why some seniors would want to pay for more hygienic care.

“People often complain to us about the service,” council spokesperson Gabriel Dupuis said.

READ MORE: Alberta mandates two baths a week for continuing care residents 

Barrette argued the province’s long-term care facilities have enough money to deliver a variety of hygienic services.

He added seniors can have assisted bathing many times a week, if they go through a job re-insertion agency and ask for a trainee.

This program is financed by the government.

“I cannot see everything everyday, but I will act on everything that is irregular that is put to my knowledge.”

The health minister ordered health establishments to stop giving illegal baths, of varying price and quality.

He said public-sector employees who do not declare extra income will be prosecuted under the law.