College of Physicians ‘very concerned’ about lack of access to care

More and more Quebec doctors who are retiring are struggling to find a replacement to care for their clients. These patients are therefore entrusted to the College of Physicians, which itself struggles to refer them as access to health professionals can be difficult, according to a report of the professional order obtained by The press

Posted at 7:00 am

Ariane Lacoursiere

Ariane Lacoursiere
The press

“The College of Physicians observes a significant increase in the number of medical records to be managed and struggles to refer patients with downright abnormal results to resources that facilitate the management of the required follow-up,” we read in the paper from van. Workshop on access to a doctor and cessation of practice of the College of Physicians.

The President of the College of Physicians, Dr.r Mauril Gaudreault does not hide it: he is concerned about the lack of access to healthcare in Quebec. In the past year, the College of Physicians has held 20 meetings and discussed with dozens of stakeholders to fully understand the issue.

The College also surveyed 2,600 physicians and 1,000 citizens, the results of which are “deeply concerning,” the D.r Gaudreault.

In particular, we learn that “the majority of physicians believe that Quebecers will be denied access to the health network within a reasonable time.”

“The title the pollster gave to the poll was: Quebecers bereft of care† It really appeals to me,” he says.

The survey found that four in 10 Quebec residents felt the need to see a health professional in the past 12 months but did not do so “because of the inability to make an appointment after attempting or because they felt that it would take too long”. The doctors surveyed also believe that it is very difficult to refer patients to other health professionals, especially psychologists, but also between doctors. The only exception: pharmacists, while only 8% of doctors find it difficult to refer patients to them.

Healthcare workers least accessible to the public, according to doctors

  • Psychologists: 82%
  • Occupational therapists: 58%
  • Psycho-educators: 58%
  • Physiotherapists: 57%
  • Doctors: 56%
  • Speech-language pathologists/audiologists: 55%
  • Dietitians/nutritionists: 54%
  • Social workers: 49%
  • Nursing specialists: 33%
  • Optometrists: 26%

Source: SOM Survey for the College of Physicians

Keeping doctors active at the end of their career

Consultations conducted by the College of Physicians led Dr.r Gaudreault argued for extending frontline access to other health professionals during the Parliamentary Committee on Bill 11, which was held in February. “I said the GP should not be the only gateway to the network and we should stop saying that all Quebec residents need a GP,” said Dr.r Gaudreault. That idea has come a long way since, he says.

Among its other recommendations, the College of Physicians is counting on an increase in home health care offerings, an improvement in network technology and better information for the public, who “don’t always know where to go to access health care”.


the dr Mauril Gaudreault, President of the College of Physicians

the dr Gaudreault also says he wants to put a lot of effort into providing better practice conditions for doctors at the end of their career who want to stay active longer. As the report points out, “while about a quarter (23%) of physicians are over 60, the wave of retirements in the coming years will accentuate the challenges of accessing a physician.” “For the time being, it is not possible to work part-time at the end of your career. We have to review that,” says the Dr Gaudreault.

Retiring physicians must also transfer their records to another physician. Those who cannot do this turn to the College of Physicians, which becomes the assignee. “The College notes a significant increase in the number of records of which it becomes the assignee, as well as difficulties in guiding patients who show significant abnormalities during examinations or examinations prescribed by the doctor who has discontinued his practice, which is not justified in a spirit of protecting the public,” the report reads.

the dr Gaudreault recalls that the mission of the College of Physicians is “to protect the public by providing high-quality medicine.” “But quality medicine is also accessible medicine,” he says.

More information user manual

  • 800 000
    Number of Quebec residents on the Family Doctor Access Window waiting list

    SOURCE: Report of the College of Physicians

    Number of Quebecers on the waiting list for Service Request Dispatch Centres, the one-stop shop for access to a medical specialist

    SOURCE: Report of the College of Physicians

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