The one call, one appointment children’s hotline put in place last September in collaboration with the Montreal Children’s Hospital and Ste Justine’s is coming to an end.
It was brought into being in the fall as kids were heading back to school and emergency rooms across the city were becoming overwhelmed.
“This was a measure that was put in place temporarily as many COVID initiatives were put in place,” says To Nhu Nguyen with the Montreal’s Regional Department of General Medicine and the program’s associate director.
The hotline’s purpose was for parents of children 0-16 to be able to use one phone number to obtain a doctor’s appointment for non-emergency illnesses and to keep as many people out of the emergency rooms as possible.
According to Montreal’s regional department, 45,000 appointments were made since the hotline was introduced. It was a success in helping alleviate the pressure on the city’s pediatric emergency departments.
“Initially it was intended to be from September until February,” says Nguyen. “We recently got word that it would be terminated on March 31,” she adds.
Nguyen reassures parents that there are still plenty of ways to access a doctor. Info-Santé’s 811 phone number and RVSQ, the province’s online portal to book appointments, will continue to operate as usual.
In the meantime, the success of the hotline will be reviewed and could be reinstated if needed. It’s seen as another tool in the toolbox for Quebec’s health-care system.