FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Enlarging the role of the healthcare professionals: an idea that is catching on

Enlarging the role of the healthcare professionals: an idea that is catching on

The Ordre des infirmiers et des infirmières du Québec (OIIQ) has just launched a superb campaign to promote greater autonomy for nurses. The FIQ won’t have any problems endorsing this campaign, since its content is so close to the message that we have been conveying for several years now. But, if this idea of giving the healthcare professionals the full recognition of their wide scope of expertise is only common sense, it has to be hammered home, again and again.

I still vividly recall the 2013 Convention at which we adopted our proposals of new models of care, including the small homes for seniors and the neighbourhood clinics. Those of you who were there will remember the surprise guest, a certain Alexandre Jardin, who came by strictly by chance and who came to acknowledge the initiative of the FIQ. It was the evidence itself: By giving greater autonomy to the healthcare professionals, an autonomy for which they are moreover already trained, we are improving access to care while saving a lot of money for the healthcare network.

Several pilot projects came out of these proposals, including a study done in collaboration with SABSA, a clinic located in Lower Town, Quebec City, and administered by specialty nurse practitioners (SNP). The results of this project, funded by the FIQ, have been more than conclusive: efficiency, as well as savings. But all was in vain. The Minister had no intention of keeping this clinic open.

We had to wait almost a year for Minister Barrette to recognize that the contribution and expertise of the healthcare professionals are a solution for the healthcare network, that he finally agree to integrate the SABSA nurses into the public network and that he give SABSA adequate funding. Since then, the experience of the SABSA nursing clinic has been repeated in Outaouais, where a SNP looks after the patients without family physicians. And another may very well open in the near future in Montréal North.

Today, it must be pointed out that the idea of greater autonomy for the healthcare professionals is catching on, and the OIIQ campaign is a way of saying that this must certainly not slow down. Let’s simply hope that this story will have a happier ending than the one on Bill 90 which was passed in 2003, which was supposed to enlarge the fields of practice and which is still not applied.