Extensive mandate for the future Santé Québec agency
Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Health Minister Christian Dubé brandishes the bill which is one of the pillars of the Health Plan he presented last.
Christian Dubé finally presented, on Wednesday, a voluminous bill aimed at creating the Santé Québec agency, a new state corporation supposed to make the health system more efficient and which will have the power to modify the seniority rules of the personnel.
Bill 15, which recognizes the “right” of “everyone” to receive adequate and safe health services, contains more than 1000 articles spread over 308 pages.
“It can be scary in terms of volume, but everything that was necessary is in there to be able to make the changes,” said the minister at a press conference, brandishing the thick document in printed version. Necessary, he repeats, because the population refuses the “status quo” in health.
Bill 15 provides for the transfer of many responsibilities from the Minister of Health to the new agency, which will have the status of a Crown corporation.
By making Santé Québec the sole employer in the health network, the government believes it can merge union certifications, which will drop from 136 to just 4. This will reduce the powers of local nurses' unions, as had been said Tuesday François Legault. Concretely, this will mean that a nurse will be able to keep her seniority if she changes region as her place of practice. “Nurses have been asking for this for years,” said Christian Dubé.
“We are not looking for culprits”
Specialists, for their part, inherit new obligations. Their right to practice in an establishment could, for example, become conditional on their being available at another location in the territory for a certain number of hours per week.
< p>“We are not looking for culprits”, underlined Minister Dubé, mentioning that “almost all doctors work long hours”. It is a question, he says, of “better distributing the workload” between doctors of the same specialty.
The Minister is also creating a series of new director positions at the CISSS and institution levels to govern the new system: medical director, medical directors of family and specialized medicine, director of nursing, director of social services, etc.
Another addition: a new “national users' committee” will aim to ensure that complaints go “to the highest level of the network”.
The ministry split in two
This piece of legislation is one of the pillars of the Health Plan presented by the Minister on this date last year. This reform, spread over three years, aims, according to the minister, to make the network “more human and more efficient”.
The agency will be born from the splitting of the ministry into two parts. The latter will reserve the main orientations and the agency would be responsible for the day-to-day performance of the network.
The transfer of employees from the ministry to the agency will be on a voluntary basis and they will retain the right to turn around. Up to 40% of the ministry's 1,200 employees could be called upon to move, but no job loss is on the program, it is said.
We also learned on Wednesday that it is the agency and not the ministry that will be responsible for deploying the future Digital Health Record (DSN).
Financially, the Minister ensures that he remains “responsible” for the budget of the Health in Quebec which amounts to $50 billion, but that this envelope will then be “transferred” to the agency.
Other details will follow.