Access to a medical specialist: a peak of 720,000 pending requests in Quebec | Coronavirus


Access to a medical specialist: a peak of 720 000 requests pending in Quebec | Coronavirus

Quebec has nearly 11,000 medical specialists.

The waiting list for an appointment you with a medical specialist has increased by almost 50% since the start of the pandemic. General practitioners are tired of explaining to their patients that they have to wait an average of 12 months.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, waiting lists in health did not swell just for access to a family doctor or for surgery.

According to data from the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) obtained by Radio-Canada, the waiting list at the Service Request Dispatch Center (CRDS) to access a doctor specialist exceeded 720,000 requests last May, a peak since the start of the pandemic.

This is an increase of almost 50% compared to September 2020, constantly increasing.

Whether for a dermatologist, an allergist-immunologist, a gynecologist or a gastroenterologist, more patients are waiting and have to wait longer than 20 months ago.

For all specialties, the average wait for an appointment was close to 9 months in September 2020. It now exceeds 12 months. In ophthalmology, we are approaching two years.

Dr. Sylvain Dion is the First Vice-President of the Federation of General Practitioners of Quebec.

For Dr. Sylvain Dion, First Vice-President of the Federation of General Practitioners of Quebec ( FMOQ), this situation is untenable.

We can always live with 3 to 6 months, but when we get to 12 months, it's really too much away and the patient will come back to see us a few times during the year to talk to us about the health problem for which we have already reached our limit, he says.

When a doctor judges that he has reached the limit of his competence in the evaluation and treatment of a health problem, he will certainly not be blamed for calling on a specialist to be able to help him in evaluation and recommendations for follow-up of his patient, adds Dr. Dion.

Quebec has nearly 11,000 medical specialists and slightly fewer general practitioners.

“When the government asks family doctors to see their patients within 72 hours and I, when I check off a request for a medical condition related to a specialty, they write to me that they 12 months ago, I tell myself that it's almost double standards! »

— Dr. Sylvain Dion, first vice-president of the FMOQ

For Dr. Serge Legault, vice-president of the Federation of Medical Specialists of Quebec (FMSQ), we must continue to work on solutions.

Dr. Serge Legault, vice-president of the Federation of Medical Specialists of Quebec (FMSQ)

In gastroenterology or hematology, for example, simple electronic advice or telephone advice [to the doctor family] could replace the consultation and avoid a long wait for the patient, he says.

Nevertheless, Dr. Legault believes that to say that all the consultations are appropriate would be lying […], but the omnis are not in bad faith.

The vice- president of the FMSQ also believes that duplicates are found on the CRDS waiting list, particularly in surgery […], where it can go up to 12%.

A family physician in Lac-Etchemin, Dr. Dion points out that in the eyes of many colleagues, the CRDS is considered a monster.

For example, he points out that if a family physician has not checked off the correct specialty on the form, they are asked to fill out another one.

Recently interviewed by the specialized medical journal Health Profession, a senior official from the MSSS recognized that there was progress to be made at the CRDS, particularly in terms of technology.

Sources indicate that Quebec and the two medical federations draw up a major plan r to improve the functioning of the referral system to a medical specialist.


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