5.6 billion planned for the Quebec health network and its reform
Getty Images The budget plans 361 million over five years for the resumption of surgeries, as well as an amount of approximately 350 million to reduce waiting lists for surgery.
The Quebec government is adding to it to deploy the health plan of Minister Christian Dubé. Budget 2023-2024 devotes nearly $5.6 billion over five years to the health care system to make it “more efficient” and “more humane”. Quebec plans to open 23 new specialized nurse practitioner (SNP) clinics by 2028, including six in the next year.
The government wants to make the current vaccination and screening centers permanent and offer more services there, such as blood samples. He also wants to create his own “Votre Santé” appointment platform, inspired by ClicSanté. Ultimately, this will allow the patient to “consult the information in his medical file”, it says.
The budget provides 361 million over five years for the resumption of surgeries. The money will be used, it is explained, to carry out operations in hospitals and private clinics, as well as to open new hospital beds and improve rehabilitation and home support services following of an intervention.
To this amount of 361 million is added a sum of approximately 350 million, from the Institute for the relevance of medical acts. This funding, which aims to reduce surgical waiting lists, stems from an agreement between the government and the Federation of Medical Specialists of Quebec (FMSQ).
As of December 31, 2022, 20,649 patients had been waiting for surgery for over a year. Quebec says it aims “to reduce this number as quickly as possible” so that it reaches 3,000 by the end of 2024, the pre-pandemic level.
Quebec is struggling to reduce the mental health waiting list, which has stood at 20,000 people for a year. Budget 2023-2024 provides for an annual sum of approximately $27 million over the next five years in order, among other things, to deploy measures to improve access to care and services and increase funding for crisis centers (5 million per year).
Prime Minister François Legault had promised investments in mental health during his visit to Amqui in the wake of the tragedy which left three dead and many injured. He recalled that the government had added resources during the pandemic, but that more had to be done.
Québec solidaire believes that the amount announced on Tuesday is insufficient. The Parti Québécois describes the sum as “very unambitious”. He points out that no measure to recruit psychologists in the public network has been included in the budget.
Agence Santé Québec
The future Health Quebec agency, it is well in the budget. At the heart of the Dubé reform, her mission will be to coordinate the operations of the network in the field, the Ministry of Health being responsible for determining the main orientations. The budget provides $60 million for its creation and the “transition” period.
Quebec is keeping another election promise: the establishment of a medical transport service by helicopter between remote regions and regions of Montreal and Quebec. A sum of 963.5 million is also injected to provide more home services. As of December 31, 18,918 people were still waiting for their first home support service.
Once again this year, health occupies the lion's share of government spending: it represents 42, 6% of departmental portfolio spending for 2023-24. Health spending—excluding COVID-19 measures—increased 7.7% over the previous year.