The Health Minister’s office dismissed a suggestion that the redeployment of new family doctors to the 450 area code, a region that voted en masse for the Avenir Québec Coalition in 2018, was politically motivated.

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QUEBEC – Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé came under attack from the opposition after eliminating 30 family doctor positions in Quebec to reassign them to its suburbs.

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Le Devoir reported Thursday that the move was “an intervention of unprecedented scale.” Dubé reduced the number of doctors assigned to work on the island of Montreal from 102 to 72, while he raised the number of doctors deployed in Montérégie to 90 from the original 67.

Meanwhile, the Laurentians will see an additional seven doctors working in their region, an additional eight will be assigned to the Lanaudière region and Laval will receive nine more than planned.

“This is blatant political interference,” said Liberal Party health critic Marie Montpetit. “You must reverse your decision!”

Earlier, Liberal leader Dominique Anglade suggested The move was due to the fact that the Avenir Québec Coalition had MNAs in the Montérégie region, while the Montreal seats are held mainly by Liberals.

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“We have to ask ourselves the question: since (the level of access to a family doctor) in Montreal is 69 per cent and 78 per cent in Montérégie, why make this decision?” she said. “It is difficult to follow the criteria used to make that decision. The government’s responsibility is to serve the public in an equitable manner. “

Dubé’s office explained that the changes are due to the fact that 25 percent of patients treated in Montreal live in the 450 area code. In a text message to Le Devoir, the office added: “With this move, we want to change the behavior of citizens in the (suburbs) of Montreal so that they receive medical care in their own region. “

The news of the redeployment came a day after the Ministry of Health’s 2020-21 operational report found that 6.6 million Quebecers (80.8 percent of the population) were registered with a family doctor, less than the government’s target of 83 percent. That was part of an overall performance that Montpetit described as “catastrophic.”

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The regional plans for medical effects (PREM) project the incorporation of 102 new family doctors in Montreal in 2022. But Dubé’s intervention reduces that number to 72.

Dubé defended the decision in the National Assembly, suggesting that Montreal doctors should treat more patients because their burden is “insufficient.”

He also said that a quarter of area code 450 residents around Montreal have to seek care elsewhere “because they don’t have doctors in their region.”

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He said the decision was not partisan, but rather based on “common sense” and political “courage” and blamed the previous liberal government for the lack of doctors in Montreal.

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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