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Coronavirus: Arcand suggests using military medics to assist Quebec long-term care homes

Coronavirus spotlight falls on Quebec’s long-term care homes
Quebec’s troubled network of long-term care homes have seen nearly half of the province’s coronavirus-related deaths, with MNAs calling for reform to the CHSLD system. Liberal leader Pierre Arcand joins Global’s Laura Casella.

The spotlight in the coronavirus pandemic has shifted in recent days to Quebec’s troubled network of long-term care homes (CHSLDs), which are grappling with widespread staffing shortages that are making it even harder to control outbreaks within their walls.

Provincial Liberal leader Pierre Arcand told Global News Morning the focus of the government and opposition parties alike is on how to improve the situation in CHSLDs.

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“I was talking Monday to Mr. Legault, and we all agree that we need to do our best in this situation,” he told Global’s Laura Casella. “We need to find a way to get more personnel, we need to find a way to get more doctors. The situation is quite urgent.”

READ MORE: Quebec premier pleads for doctors to help nursing homes ravaged by coronavirus

Arcand said that while there is a shortage of nurses and orderlies in CHSLDs right now, there are plenty of people who could be quickly brought in to fill those roles.

“I have sent letters to Mme. McCann, the health minister,” he said. “There are 4,000 people right now in the field of social economy that could certainly be helpful.”

The Mont-Royal-Outremont MNA suggested that doctors currently working at the veteran’s hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue could be perfect candidates, too, saying: “Those [in the army] who are specialists in health care, it would be helpful to have them.
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“We need to get in touch with all of those groups and make sure we assign them to the areas that are clearly right now having those problems,” he said.

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Arcand added that once the crisis has subsided, Quebec politicians need to have a broader discussion about the way money is spent on health care in the province.

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“If you look at the numbers, in 1994, for example, you have 33 per cent of the entire Quebec budget for health care,” he said. “Today, in 2020, it’s over 52, 53 per cent, and the way it’s going right now, it’s going to go to 60 per cent.”

He explained that the issue, therefore, is not of a lack of funds, but rather how those funds are spent across the health-care network.

“It seems we have focused a lot on hospitals, and it’s clear we’re going to need to review how government operates in [CHSLDs] in particular.”