The prime minister Philippe Couillard ensures that the agreement in principle signed on Friday between Quebec and specialist physicians has been entered into for the benefit of patients.
Everything indicates that medical specialists will also find their account, avoiding the application of the sanctions provided under law 130.
The prime minister defends himself well, however, to have surrendered to the powerful lobby of doctors, who were able to garner these past few years salary increases are substantial and controversial.
On the contrary, he argued Saturday during a media scrum, big gains, never seen before, have been achieved by the negotiators of the government to provide a guarantee of access to a medical specialist.
In addition, the financial framework of the government has been strictly adhered to, said the prime minister, after visiting the palace of the Bonhomme Carnaval, to two not of the national Assembly, and greeted the people who came to participate in the activities of the Quebec winter Carnival.
The agreement, is confidential, is intended to set the conditions of practice and the remuneration of the 10 000 members of the Federation of medical specialists (FMSQ). Little has filtered the content of the agreement, which must be ratified by the members of the federation before coming into force.
“We got (the part of the doctors, specialists) of the things that we never had until now,” said Mr. Couillard, without wishing to enter into the details of the agreement.
For the government, the question of the increased accessibility of specialists was central. Moreover, “there are very substantial gains for patients in terms of accessibility to services, including imaging,” medical, that have been obtained, he said.
The problem of the lack of continuity in the services provided, felt in several regions, is also expected to reverse, according to him, thanks to this agreement.
On the question of the additional amounts to be granted to physician specialists, Mr. Couillard did not want to say more, except to say that the agreement “fully respects the financial framework of the government.”
In October, the government held the same language by making public the broad outlines of the agreement, this time with general practitioners.
On average, a doctor earns 420 000 $ in Quebec, while a family doctor will receive a $245,000.
Doctors general practitioners have achieved an increase in their salary in the order of 14.7 percent, by 2023, in the amount of $ 1.6 billion to be divided.
In the eyes of medical specialists, the negotiations concerning them were mainly used to save on the application of the laws 20 and 130, with the effect of changing their practice and reduce their professional autonomy, a scenario that is considered unacceptable.
On Friday, the president of the FMSQ, Diane Francoeur, shouted victory, stating that his federation was fighting to claim its right to negotiate its conditions of practice. “We got this right”, she concluded from the agreement.
The minister of Health, Ga?tan Barrette, threatened to enforce the law 20, which provides for significant financial penalties, of up to 30 per cent of the earnings, if the doctors increased the number of patients in their care. Even if the targets have not been reached, the punitive measures of the act are suspended for the moment.
The prime minister Couillard has suggested that the punitive measures of the law 130, would also be suspended. This act gives more power to the directorates of the hospitals to control the time use of specialists, increase their productivity and their presence in the hospital, under the penalty of sanctions.
Mr. Couillard refuses to see a concession on the part of the government. “This is not the setbacks, he commented. It is the same thing as with the general practitioners. There has been big progress made. By the way, a lot of targets are close to being reached. With gps, we had a dialogue to see if we could move away in time a little certain targets, but with a continuous effort. It is ready to have the same discussion with the specialists, but this, this is done in parallel.”
The minister Barrette, who had been sidelined from the negotiations in December, has refused an interview request.
The spokesman of the parti qu?becois in the area of health, the mna Diane Lamarre, expressed concern, fearing that the agreement does no real guarantee to improve access to a medical specialist.
“I’m afraid that, once again, we did not require the safeguards necessary to ensure that the population receives essential services,” she said in a telephone interview. According to her, priority should be given to the surgeries related to the cancer, and it should appear in the agreement.
It is further concerned that the details of the agreement would not be made public and that the process remains “completely closed, fully sealed”.
In December, the open conflict between the president of the FMSQ, Diane Francoeur, and the minister Barrette, had failed to turn to the judiciary dispute, while the organization is preparing to file a motion in superior Court to enforce its rights to negotiate the conditions of his practice of medicine.
A few hours before the deadline, the prime minister Philippe Couillard had to get involved personally, seeking to calm down the game and avoid the recourse to courts, ensuring the FMSQ to the minister that the Module would now be removed from the record of the negotiations, a demand repeatedly made by the federation.