New agency Santé Québec will assume operational control of the network.

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An agency that will take over the operational control of Quebec’s health-care network from the province’s health ministry is the cornerstone of Bill 15, which was tabled Wednesday morning by the Legault government.

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The voluminous law — which contains 1,100 articles — is based on the premise that everyone has the right to receive health care and social services in an “adequate, continual, personalized and safe manner.”

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The legislation also confirms the creation of Santé Québec, an agency that will take over the day-to-day operations of the health-care network from the ministry and provides for the creation of a commissioner of complaints and quality of service.

Health Minister Christian Dubé was quick to promote the reform, saying it would make the system more efficient and provide Quebecers with the health care to which they are entitled.

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Dubé also said the law will provide better access to health-care services, an improved patient experience within the network and management decisions that are made closer to the institutions where the effects of those decisions will be felt.

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Québec solidaire health critic Vincent Marissal, speaking to reporters prior the the tabling of Bill 15 said the reform has already sparked fears and uncertainty within the health-care network. Marissal argued the minister is a “bad boss” because of the latter’s description of the coming reform as a cataclysm in health care.

Marissal said Dubé is adding a “layer of uncertainty” to a proposed reform of the network that has already left those working in it “very shaken.”

For several days, Dubé has been promising a major reform of the health-care system. Wednesday’s proposed legislation will include the creation of Santé Québec, an agency that will assume operational control of the network, as well as new obligations for medical specialists.

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The legislation is also expected to include more centralized contract negotiations with employees and a corresponding centralization of network control. Changes to rules governing seniority and employee mobility within the network are also expected.

“In the network right now, people are very, very nervous,” Marissal said. “Everyone … doctors, administrators, caregivers … (Dubé) is coming in with his big boots, like a cowboy, saying: ‘Out of the way, there’s going to be shakeup.’

“Frankly, it’s a bad way to operate.”


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