$3 billion to make Quebec's healthcare system “more efficient” | Quebec Budget 2023
The Girard budget provides, among other things, $2.2 billion to adapt the health sector to post-pandemic realities.
After three years of pandemic, the Legault government intends to devote more $3 billion over five years for new health initiatives to make the system “more efficient and flexible for people”.
The Girard budget provides, among other things, $2.2 billion to adapt the health sector to post-pandemic realities. This ministry is, unsurprisingly, the largest item of expenditure for the Quebec state, i.e. $52.8 billion out of a total budget of nearly $122 billion.
The government wishes sustain the vaccination and screening centers created during the pandemic by expanding their scope to include other front-line services.
This sum will also make it possible to update the emergency measures plan as well as the supply of personal protective equipment and to reduce the waiting list for surgeries, we can read in the press release from the Minister of Health. Finance, Eric Girard.
“The Health Plan, which has been in place for a year, is a major shift in improving health care for the population and access to such care. The investments announced today are a continuation of this plan.
—Eric Girard, Minister of Finance of Quebec
The government is counting on structural and lasting changes in the health network. Thus, it plans to invest $395 million to open new front-line access clinics and add specialized nurse practitioners and other professionals. From 2023-2024, 12 clinics, or six more than currently, will offer their services to the population, can we read in the document.
In addition, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) will benefit from an envelope of $146 million to develop the Your Health platform, which aims to facilitate appointment booking, telemedicine consultation with a doctor and, ultimately, the possibility for the user to consult the information in his medical file.
Also, the MSSS will receive $125 million to establish a medical transportation service by helicopter to improve service and response speed. This service will be implemented gradually between sending hospitals in more remote regions and receiving hospitals in Montreal and Quebec.
The Legault government is moving forward with its project to create Santé Québec to improve the efficiency of the network, he argues. Its implementation will begin with the tabling of a bill with a view to coming into force by 2024. An amount of $60 million will be attached to it during the two-year transition period.
The creation of Santé Québec will lead to a review of the roles between the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the institutions in the network, which are primarily responsible for providing the service offer, is -he writes in the budget.
As of December 31, 2022, 20,649 patients have been waiting for surgery for over a year. The goal, says Minister Girard, is still to reduce this number as quickly as possible to bring it back to pre-pandemic levels – less than 3,000 patients awaiting surgery – in 2024.
In addition, the Girard budget plans to allocate an additional sum of approximately $2 billion over five years to take care of seniors and their natural caregivers. Quebec estimates that the number of people aged 65 and over will increase from 1.8 million in 2021 to nearly 2.5 million in 2041, which will represent 26% of the population.
Of the amount announced, $963 million will be used to intensify the offer of home support services.
In concrete terms, this investment will make it possible to offer services to 34,000 people from more by March 31, 2028, says the government.
In addition, the budget sets aside $705 million to provide accommodation adapted to the needs of seniors, including $405 million to ensure the continuity of services in private seniors' residences (RPA). In addition, $200 million will be devoted to continuing to fund the deployment of seniors' homes and $100 million to continuing to harmonize public and private CHSLDs.
The objective of this approach is to provide seniors with the same quality of care and services, regardless of the status of the living environment where they reside. To date, the work has made it possible to make significant progress with 16 establishments and even to complete the agreement for three CHSLDs, underlines the Minister.
Minister Girard grants $75 million to strengthening the fight against elder abuse and $21 million to improving support for caregivers.
Surprisingly, he plans to offer free access to shingles vaccination. The government is providing $124 million over five years for this public health measure, which will make it possible to vaccinate 800,000 people during this period.
In this budget, the Legault government is releasing $565 million over five years to improve mental health and social services.
Thus, $211 million will be used to increase mental health, homelessness and addiction services, $110 million to strengthen services for young people in difficulty and $50 million to create new respite spaces for parents of children with disabilities.
Québec will also increase its financial support for community organizations by injecting $194 million in new funds. Considering all the amounts invested for 2023-2024, government funding for the Support Program for Community Organizations will increase by 12% compared to 2022-2023, specifies the Minister.
< p class="e-p">Note that the government is investing $30 million to enable the implementation of work related to the second phase of the Special Commission on the Rights of Children and Youth Protection as well as; $25 million in support of organizations that provide assistance to men in very vulnerable situations.
Also worth noting is the granting of $44 million to improve the care of patients with rare or chronic diseases.