Quebec opposition parties unveil health care plans – Montreal

Quebec’s outgoing nurses’ union president is meeting with Quebec’s opposition parties to discuss the problems in health care because she says the Liberal government’s reforms are not working.

“Not only our members, but the [general] population tell us things are more difficult in the health system,” said Régine Laurent.

READ MORE: Quebec budget 2017: Nurses’ union wants money for care, not doctor salaries

This week, both the Parti Québécois (PQ) and the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) released plans at pre-session caucuses in Saint-Eustache and Shawinigan, respectively, to lower emergency room wait times and do something about the 24 per cent of Quebecers who don’t have a family doctor.

“We have enough family doctors, or GPs, in Quebec,” said CAQ leader François Legault.

It’s just a matter of incentive, he added, saying doctors would be encouraged to see more people if they were paid per patient.

READ MORE: Minister says Quebec ER doctors should work more

The PQ wants to give more responsibilities to other health care workers and says it would allow nurse practitioners to open their own clinics.

“Altogether, we have at least 15 health professionals who may be involved more,” said PQ health critic Diane Lamarre.

In the last budget, the Liberal government allowed for significant increases to doctor salaries.

PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée said he would enact a wage freeze.

“For the good of Quebecers, for the good of patients, for the good of doctors, for the good of public finances, it needs to be done,” he said.

READ MORE: ER doctors say ‘super clinics’ could increase wait times

Lisée said, if elected in 2018, it will be in part because he campaigned so strongly on the issue of health, so he expects doctors will be willing to re-open their contract.

“I think doctors, specialists…are good standing members of the Quebec community,” he said.

“They know there is a problem.”

This week, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette sent a barrage of tweets criticizing both opposition parties, saying among other things, their plans were confusing and impossible.

Global News reached out to the minister, but he declined an interview.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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