Friday, 11 August 2017
For those outside of Quebec: In order to reduce the pressure on hospital emergency rooms, the government instituted the CLSC system, which is a series of medical clinics staffed with doctors, nurses, psychologists, and other specialists. Its purpose is to treat non-urgent cases more locally so that people won't have to go to the hospital. Each CLSC serves a particular area; ours happens to be located just around the corner.
However due to recent "restructuring" the local CSLC is no longer running the daily walk-in clinic that they used to have on weekday mornings. Now, only people who actually have a file with a doctor there will be admitted by appointment. So they are referring people to another walk-in clinic called Azur which is 3 km away.
I went to Azur which informed me that I have to call ahead for an appointment for a consultation. I immediately made said call on my cellphone only for an automated system to tell me that there were no more openings for the day (this was at 10:30 AM) and to call back at 4 PM for an appointment that evening (which I couldn't do, having already had plans). The receptionist said ruefully that the CLSC is still sending people there even though Azur asked them to stop. So I'll have to get up before 7 AM on Monday to call Azur for an appointment.
Where are those without a GP supposed to go if they have a problem? I haven't had a GP for almost a year; my previous one retired and I only found out after not receiving an expected follow-up of some tests. Although I am registered on the government web site for people who have no GP, I am still waiting to hear back from them.
I have several issues that will eventually require professional intervention, but with no GP to follow up with, how will I know what I need to do? Going to an emergency room will solve nothing as being a non-urgent case I would probably wait for 16-24 hours or longer, only to be told to see a GP that I do not have.
The current Quebec government is in serious denial about how bad things really are. The health minister is supposedly a doctor himself, but all he has done is institute a series of draconian cutbacks that have caused hospitals to close beds and prevent facilities from being used to their fullest. Even at the best of times, there are wait lists for months to get such things as MRI scans and biopsies.
There will come a point where people will die before needed treatment becomes available. In fact, it's already happening. In January of 2016 a man died because a surgeon was prevented from operating on him due to a cost-cutting administrative decision a few months prior.
Perhaps that's the government's plan, to have the oldest and/or sickest die prematurely so that money will be saved that would otherwise be spent in treating them.
I've said it before: If you live in Quebec, don't get sick.