Since March, I have travelled thousands of kilometres around Quebec to meet members of the Federation. Now, it is with great pleasure that I make the last stops on the tour in the Far North, visiting Kuujjuaq, Puvirnituq, Quaqtaq, Chisasibi and other exceptional places.
Unless you live or work in the Far North, it is hard to understand what it’s really like. When the southern media reports on the “North”, unfortunately, more often than not, it is about tragic events. We don’t hear enough positive news about life here—about the richness of the people who live and work in this magnificent territory. Like the rest of the health network, the Far North has difficulty attracting and retaining healthcare professionals. That’s why coming to meet them in person and seeing their environment with my own eyes is so important to me. Some situations can be resolved starting now. What’s more, I was able to meet with some CEOs and health centre directors during the tour and I will continue to put pressure on elected officials upon my return. Furthermore, the next round of provincial negotiations will without a doubt enable us to bring issues specific to remote regions to the forefront.
I know that there are major challenges here, but I would like to highlight how the role, skills and expertise of healthcare professionals are optimized and truly used to their full extent. In the Far North’s health institutions, professionals can play a broader, independent role which follows their code of ethics. A neighbourhood practice for patients where the doctor, who is rarely on site, stays in contact with healthcare professionals using technology.
Many health network workers are of the same opinion when it comes to doctors’ monopoly on access to care. When you see how things are done in the Far North, it’s hard not to oppose such a medical stranglehold over the access to care in the “south.” It leaves no shadow of a doubt that corporatism is hindering the access to, quality of and continuity of care. For years, the Federation has been proposing alternative care models in which healthcare professionals’ broad scope of skills would be fully recognized and used to benefit the Quebec population. The Far North’s practices align perfectly with what the FIQ is proposing. The “south” would do well to follow the “north’s” example, especially our next government!
Speaking of the next government, don’t forget to exercise your right to vote on October 1! Remember, if we don’t manage politics, politics will manage us.