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Opposition accuses Quebec government of dragging its feet on improving health care

Opposition accuses Quebec government of dragging its feet on improving healthcare
WATCH: The Quebec government is being criticized for not having a detailed action plan for dealing with lead contamination in drinking water in communities across the province. As Global’s Raquel Fletcher reports, it will now enforce a better testing method that will produce more accurate results.

A Friday morning debate at the Quebec National Assembly on improving health care services has parties pointing the finger at each other.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) has been in power for a year now, and the Liberal opposition says that’s plenty of time to fix some of the major issues straining the system.

However, Quebec Solidaire (QS) is defending the government, saying the CAQ could have done a lot more if the Liberals hadn’t caused so many problems to begin with.

READ MORE: CAQ government under pressure over doctors’ salaries

Liberal health critic André Fortin said the CAQ government has done some good things to improve health care, like giving more power to nurse practitioners and pharmacists.

“Some of those are great measures. To give pharmacists the power, the ability to offer vaccines is a great measure. We (just) don’t understand why the minister, why the government hasn’t called that bill to be studied yet,” Fortin said.

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Fortin said that is par for the course for this government: he said after a year in power, it’s had plenty of time to fix major issues in the health system, but instead, it’s let them go unresolved.

“On the staff shortage, which is very real and is having real effects, there seems to be no plan.”

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READ MORE: Quebec wants to allow nurse practitioners to see their own patients

Fortin said there are many examples of where the system isn’t working because of a lack of either doctors or nurses.

“It’s leading to issues that were happening in Verdun where you have one nurse to 169 patients,” he said.

He also mentioned the hospital in La Pocatière, which no longer admits mothers in labour on the weekends.

However, during Friday’s debate, Quebec Solidaire called out Fortin, saying his accusations against the current government are unfair.

“The lack of services in different regions in Quebec didn’t come from this year, it came from the 15 years of Liberal government,” said QS MNA Sol Zanetti.

READ MORE: CAQ still hasn’t fulfilled promise to reduce hospital parking rates

Zanetti said the Liberals are like pyromaniacs who’ve set the house on fire and are now complaining the firefighters aren’t working fast enough.

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“I want to make sure that the Parti Liberal gets its own part of the trouble because they deserve it,” he said.

Health Minister Danielle McCann said she’s been working behind the scenes to address these issues, but all of this takes time.

“I’m working in collaboration with the orders also, the Collège des médecins, the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec, and the Ordre des pharmaciens and many others and this is the tone that we want, to collaborate with everybody. That’s how we’re going to succeed,” McCann said.