Worrisome centralization project in health
OPEN LETTER & # 8211; Let us first shed light on the chaotic management of the pandemic
Éric Gingras, president of the Centrale des unions du Québec ( CSQ)
Lise Lapointe, President of the Association of Retirees of Education and Other Public Services of Quebec (AREQ-CSQ)
Isabelle Dumaine, President of the Federation of la Santé du Québec (FSQ-CSQ)
Whether he likes it or not, Premier François Legault must quickly order an independent public inquiry into the government's management of the pandemic in Quebec.
Indeed, the revelations of recent weeks (report by the Ombudsperson, disturbing facts revealed by the inquest of the Chief Coroner of Quebec, including the disappearance of major inspection reports carried out by establishments after the discovery of the tragedy at CHSLD Herron) demonstrate the urgency of shedding light on the situation, particularly with regard to the management of long-term care establishments.
Avoid other tragedies
It is in this spirit that we are calling, as others have already done, for a real investigation public in order to understand what really happened. Serious governance and management errors were evidently committed before and during the health crisis, which explains the inability of our health system to cope with the situation. We must learn from our mistakes to prevent the tragedies we have experienced from happening again. Acting more adequately to ensure the safety of citizens is one of the fundamental responsibilities of the State, and, as such, we want to know the shortcomings that the government must quickly correct in its governance.
An even more threatening centralization
This question is all the more important as Quebec is preparing to radically transform the management of the health and social services network, as Minister Dubé recently announced at a press briefing. He wishes to achieve this by facilitating access to the numerous databases, as evidenced by Bill No. 19 tabled on December 3. It should be noted that the Minister wishes to obtain all the management information necessary to enable him to ensure national and interregional coordination of the health and social services network. This desire is clearly expressed in a draft regulation published on September 29th.
We have already indicated that we believe the health crisis has demonstrated the importance of having relevant data to effectively control the spread of a virus. But we also expressed reservations, believing that there must be guidelines and that to fall into excessive centralized governance and management was a mistake. Today, we are questioning the management orientations that are emerging. Would the increasing collection of data, crushed in huge and complex computer systems, allow us to act more adequately? Rather than always wanting to collect more information to facilitate decision-making in a crisis situation, would it not be better to put prevention and the precautionary principle at the heart of our risk management decisions?
Decentralize and bring justice to the elderly
We know that the issues were known for a long time. COVID-19 has given way to the links of our public health system, weakened by underinvestment in recent years, particularly CHSLDs, which have been politically very neglected for several decades. Future seniors' homes are not the solution.
Rather than further centralizing decision-making, the government must restore local public health action plans for each of the facilities in our network. These should be developed, implemented, evaluated and updated on a regular basis by the parties concerned, including workers who are very familiar with the problems, needs and challenges of their own communities. Remember that the preparation of such plans was provided for in the Public Health Act, but that this obligation was abolished by the Barrette reform.
Correct the Liberals' mistake
We call on the government to correct the Liberal mistake and give back to communities and healthcare settings the decision-making levers and the resources that will allow them to keep themselves safe. Because local planning and speed of action will be our best protections during the next health crises.
We are thinking particularly of our elders, who are the main victims of this erratic and improvised governance of the State . Our parents and grandparents have suffered for years of government neglect towards them, and justice must be done by ordering a public inquiry.
This includes finding, preserving and making public all inspection reports to follow up on visits to seniors' residences and CHSLDs. The current lack of transparency has led to thousands of deaths. This situation must end.
We have seen it during this health crisis: our security, contrary to what Minister Dubé is about to do, can no longer depend on large inhuman ungovernable systems, particularly in crisis situations.