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Quebec strikes deal with medical specialists to ensure certain services in regional health care

The province plans to create groups of medical specialists who can administer care in Quebec's regions.
The province plans to create groups of medical specialists who can administer care in Quebec's regions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Molly Riley

The Quebec government and medical specialists have officially struck a deal over rolling out regional coverage in all Quebec hospitals for general surgeries and obstetrics.

Health Minister Danielle McCann said in a statement Thursday that the agreement will ensure ongoing medical care and minimize disruptions to health services in the province’s regions, including Outaouais and the lower Laurentians.

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“Patients in the regions have the right to receive basic specialized services close to home,” said McCann. “We have worked very hard to find sustainable solutions that will prevent these situations of concern and ensure that users receive the appropriate care in all regions of Quebec.”

As part of the deal, the province will create groups of medical specialists who can step in to carry out surgeries and provide obstetrics care when necessary in underserved areas.

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Surgeons will provide general surgical care in their community and may, if they have the proper training, perform caesarean sections in remote locations. Emergency support mechanisms will also be provided by teams flying in for surgeries and obstetrics.

Diane Francoeur, president of the Federation of Medical Specialists of Quebec, believes the agreement makes it possible to alleviate the shortage of specialized medical personnel in the regions.

— With files from the Canadian Press