The perpetual clog of Quebec’s emergency rooms might be due to red tape, says the Parti Quebecois.
“I will give you a very simple example: audiologists, you know, they have a master’s degree — five years, and they are not allowed to wash ears,” said PQ Health Critic Diane Lamarre.
Dental hygienists can’t provide home care, like teeth-cleaning, because they need to be supervised by a dentist. Nurse practitioners, who can prescribe drugs, need to be supervised by a GP.
“We still keep our health professionals in an old pattern that we had 40 years ago,” Lamarre said.
Wait times in the province’s emergency rooms have been called the worst in the western world. Because doctors need to sign off on so much, and most clinics aren’t open evenings or weekends, patients often have few other options than to go to the ER for care.
“Quebecers that went to the hospital to have care, left, because they were fed up with the wait. That’s not a way to run a health system,” said PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée.
In question period, Lisée also took a shot at Health Minister Gaétan Barrette’s proposed super clinics, saying that all the government has done is change the name of existing family-medicine clinics.
The premier responded that care has “notably” improved. One man told him he avoided the wait at the ER, and spent just two hours at a super clinic, and he left with “X-ray done, lab work done and prescription in hand.”
During Wednesday’s health commission, the health minister said he’s open to new innovations. Barrette said, “We see in our discussion that there are new territories opening.”
However, Barrette’s priority remains making sure Quebecers have their own family doctor — he says there are enough practising GP’s in the province. They just need to take on more patients.