The secret to a strong health and social service system

The discontent with the current state of the health and social service system is palpable. Given all the broken promises to Quebecers – to put an end to waiting lists and give everyone access to a family doctor – it’s little wonder government pledges to fix the problems with the health-care system are greeted with suspicion. In contrast to the threadbare solutions contained in the Legault government’s health-care reform plan (cost control, phony decentralization, expanding the role of the private sector, etc.), the APTS has a distinctly different vision for the health care and social service system. Our vision is outlined in our political platform and we’ll be promoting it with a campaign under the theme “A strong union for a strong public system.” It lays out the kind of health-care system Quebecers deserve and the principles that should guide any government that’s serious about making it better.

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The private sector on health care’s front lines: a new deal?

The central role of primary health care is indisputable. As the point of entry to our health-care system, primary care should in theory meet 80 per cent of Quebecers’ health and social service needs by preventing health problems from occurring or worsening. The Legault government’s health-care reform plan (Plan santé) aims to entrust primary care to Family Medicine Groups (or GMFs for groupes de médecine de famille) ― 75 per cent of which are privately owned ― and they are making it sound like this is a bold and innovative solution. Looking back at the last 50 years, Anne Plourde, author and researcher at the Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS), found that the opposite is true. Private-sector involvement in primary care is nothing new, and the dominant view of primary care in Québec has largely been shaped by the private sector.

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The private sector in health care: panacea or bad idea?

The private sector’s role in health care was on everyone’s lips during the election campaign, but given the widely diverging opinions, there was no clear understanding of how that might be interpreted. François Legault said he wanted to accelerate the “migration” of primary care services to family medicine groups (GMFs) and give private clinics more latitude in specialized care. Dominique Anglade wanted a major push to clear the surgery backlog, through agreements with the private sector. Eric Duhaime bluntly questioned the basic principle of keeping public and private health care separate. And Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois tersely commented that if private health care worked, we’d know about it.

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2023 contract talks: how can we win?

Excitement is in the air at the APTS. We’ll be tabling our demands and launching the next round of public-sector contract talks in just a few days, and our whole organization is mobilized to make sure we’re ready. We asked APTS president Robert Comeau and APTS 1st vice-president Josée Fréchette, political officer responsible for national bargaining talks, to share their thoughts just before this key moment in our union life.

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“Plan santé” – what is it?

Three years. That’s the deadline the Legault government has set itself to put the health and social services system back together with an action plan designed to make it “more human” and “more effective”. But what is the actual content of Minister Dubé’s Plan santé¸ aka the “Plan to implement changes needed in health care”? What are the Ministry’s objectives, how will it try to reach them, and, especially, what will be the impact on our system? We’ve gone through the 90-page document to find the answers.

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Seniors’ residences a lucrative market in Québec

The pandemic has cruelly highlighted the cracks in Québec’s seniors’ housing model, which relies heavily on private facilities. Two researchers recently looked into who owns seniors’ residences and where their profits come from.

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The dark side of free trade

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the extent to which Québec depends on overseas manufacturing plants to supply even the simplest of products, like masks. With protectionism on the rise in many countries, have we been relying too heavily on globalization and free trade?

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What we deserve… no more, no less

As partners in the upcoming public-sector negotiations, the APTS and the FIQ were united in their response to the unwelcome statements made by Premier François Legault.

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