Taking action for you on important issues

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Hugo viens low resThe QMA is the only professional association that brings together all physicians in Québec. This unique position allows us to tackle important health issues without being restricted by corporate or union concerns. And within the CMA, we can extend the discussions to all physicians in Canada.

Last month, the QMA delegates met in Québec City for the 150th General Council of the CMA, a respected institution that is going through a real transformation. In the last few years, this organization has established the means to connect with its members, regardless of which province they are in. Not only is it showing more openness, but it is also co-ordinating more consultations and roundtables to keep up to date on what is happening in the field.

The General Council wants to regain its place as a forum for debate where physicians can discuss their important emerging issues, express their ideas and define the positions that the CMA would then defend in national discussions or use to lobby the government at the federal level. Many issues are common to the entire country. Physicians everywhere in Canada must collaborate to support professionalism and uphold application of the five principles of the Canada Health Act, namely universality, accessibility to health care, public administration, portability and comprehensiveness of necessary health services. 

Despite variations in the provincial application of these principles, the fact that we are governed by separate regulations and have practice environments that are organized differently, there are still some basic issues that concern us all. We are not alone in dealing with a health care budget that is consuming a growing share of government programs. Elsewhere as well, the profession must reinvent itself to meet the needs of an ever better informed population but one that is also dealing with chronic diseases and an increasingly older population.

As we need to radically change our practices, at the QMA, just like the CMA, we feel that we must mobilize to take on our responsibility to the population and fulfil our side of the social contract – the foundation of professionalism. To discuss this with you, we decided to come to you in your communities as part of a major regional tour around the theme of professionalism. The QMA wants to continue to be your messenger and the bearer of your concerns. Together, this approach will also give us the possibility to build solutions.

There are plenty of health concerns, and no lack of issues that we can act on. It is necessary to rethink the health care system to meet today’s needs, and to work with managers and the government to be able to offer collective responses.

During the CMA’s General Council, there were discussions around concrete issues such as health innovations, end-of-life care and the expansion of medical assistance in dying. These matters will shape our future practices. The QMA is working to ensure that provincial legislation includes medical assistance in dying for mature minors and for advance requests for incapacitated individuals, as well as clear guidelines for patients where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition. In Québec, we took the time to examine the issue before adopting the Act respecting end-of-life care. We should do the same with its expansion.

Dr. Hugo Viens, B.Sc., M.D., FRCSC