FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Alternative to the private sector in health care: Let’s move on to solutions!

The public hearings at the Parliamentary Commission on the Autonomy Insurance Fund are in progress. The FIQ presented its recommendations on November 5th. This government project suggests a certain potential, an opportunity to be taken that could lead to the development of a real project with hope for the future and the sustainability of the public healthcare system and also for our elderly. But to accomplish this, we have to recognize that the time has come to act to stop, even reverse the strong trend that is giving more and more importance to for-profit private enterprises in health care.

The importance given to the for-profit private enterprises by those who run the public health network, constantly rising for several years now, today is reaching alarming proportions in Québec, surpassing, even sometimes by far, what is happening in the many countries of the OECD. The results of the solutions promised by the for-profit private enterprises, who seek to sell us their miracle cures at inflated prices, have never been met. Instead, we have seen public resources transferred to personal investors’ accounts motivated first by the desire to always make more profit. Faced with the absurdities and aberrations that we see every day in the network, it is now urgent that we act. Denying it is not an option, attacking it and finding solutions are mandatory.

For me, the solution is clear: we must be innovative by setting up new models of care, without being afraid of straying off the beaten path.

Whether it is for our parents, or eventually for ourselves, can we imagine, for example, a place to grow old in? A safe place, on a human scale, where the clients are not categorized according to the number of hours of care they need, but where individuals can choose to live without being uprooted. A setting in which the elderly and their families actively participate in the choice of services and recreation as well as in the decisions that govern their daily lives. A place, that is open to the community, and in which a day centre also welcomes the elderly from the surrounding area in order to find common ground and have fun. A place, where the healthcare professionals will be more involved and have more autonomy, giving them the chance to perform their work to the full potential of their abilities and from which the elderly will benefit. A place developed outside the name of profit and that will, in the end, allow the elderly to be placed at the centre of residential housing.

A similar vision can easily be extended to front-line care, another sector where the for-profit private sector has increased its presence tenfold over the last few years without however resolving the problems of costs and access to services.

It is time for innovation and audacity. One must dare to think otherwise if we want to achieve giving services that really respond to the needs of the population and that will showcase the full professional potential of those who give care. The power to change is within us!