Together, We Can Advance Medical Professionalism!

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I am extremely pleased to sign my first message as QMA president. I am proud of the mandate you have entrusted to me and you can rest assured that I will do everything in my power to fill my predecessor’s shoes! Over the last few months, the QMA has taken an in-depth look at professionalism, which must now be communicated to the public and our own ranks. I give you my full commitment to do this.

I am firmly convinced that our professionalism, and thus our ability to make a commitment to society and to meet expectations, will enable us to restore the public’s trust. 

Over the past few years, media coverage about our medical community has suggested that we have broken our social contract with the people. Today, the share of the budget allocated to health is 51%, which includes 21% for our compensation. Although, our competence and the quality of our care are not being called into question, the matter is quite different when it comes to accountability and the interests of the common good to which we are also committed. The public is calling us to account and wants us to put the interests of society ahead of those of physicians.

We are not the only ones at a crossroads. Our colleagues in Alberta, for instance, have already started to move in this direction. They have committed to capping the growing health budget by accepting a reduction in compensation if, together with their government, they are not able to stabilize the costs in the system. In addition, they have opted to reform their primary care based on a model that allows for regional funding through Primary Care Networks in which they have a population-based responsibility.

As physicians, we must also assume our responsibilities in Québec. Every one of us can improve the quality of our practice by making it more relevant and by making wise use of public resources. Collectively, our profession must equip itself with the means to play a leadership role in organizing and improving health care services for the population. And we are in a good position to do this. The medical profession knows what patients need and has the tools to improve the organization of services, namely through the intervention of physician executives.

Since the arrival of the liable state in 1970, we have been engaged in a three-way physician-patient-state debate in which we have allowed negotiations to take over. Today, we have to reset the pendulum and restore a population-based responsibility. I therefore invite you to get involved and to discuss the issues with me if you wish.

By working together we can advance professionalism. Moreover, we invite you to take part in our tour on professionalism that will travel across Québec.

Thank you for your support and commitment to the medical profession.



Dr. Hugo Viens, B.Sc., M.D., FRCSC