Friday, 3 June 2016

Medically Screwed

For those who don't realize how messed up our medical system is.

I visited a regional medical clinic recently (known as a CLSC in Quebec) to have something looked at; they said that soon the clinic will be for people who don't have regular doctors, or for non-emergency cases that don't require going to a hospital E.R.  If you have a doctor you have to see that doctor even if getting an appointment takes weeks.

Case in point: In late April I was having eye problems but my regular eye doctor wasn't taking appointments until July.  So I paid to have an exam done within a week at a private establishment.  (My eyes were fine; I do need new glasses though.)

As a result of the aforementioned clinic visit, I was referred to a specialist.  However, getting a hold of one was a challenge.  Out of four local specialist clinics, no.1 was no longer accepting referrals, no.2 was unreachable, no.3 voice mail box was always full, no.4 their main specialist was ill and they had a waiting list of 14 months.

Eventually I chose to take an appointment next week at a specialist that I had seen previously, whose office is almost two hours away by public transit.  It's a bit inconvenient but at least it's timely.

Our health minister is supposed to be a doctor but he keeps changing the rules and making cutbacks that go against everything the medical profession stands for.  The brand-new hospital in Montreal has already been suffering from infrastructure failures, equipment shortages, and bed closures.  Seeing a specialist within a reasonable amount of time seems to be a matter of luck.

Worst of all, E.R. wait times in the province are the longest in the country.  A few years ago our daughter fell and got a bad cut on her head that needed stitches.  The accident happened after 7 PM and all the local walk-in clinics were closed, so we had to go the E.R.  We ended up waiting 13 hours - all night - before her cut was properly treated.  Wait times haven't improved much since then.

Moral of the story: Don't get sick.  Not if you live in Quebec.


  1. There have always been all sorts of stupid and crazy rules for accessing services at the CLSCs. It sounds like the situation is just getting worse.

    Probably the best thing you could do for yourselves is to get your driver's licenses and to set up a membership with a service like car2go or Communauto. Travelling to medical appointments in Montreal is best done by car in a lot of cases, especially if there's a child involved....

    1. One exception to the rule is the Children's Hospital. They're very good and quite fast. I took our daughter there one winter to get her treated for pneumonia and we saw a doctor within two hours. I was impressed.