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CAQ changes controversial plan to build 2 mini hospitals to focus on seniors

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government is changing its controversial plan to build two mini private hospitals by 2025.

Instead of providing services to a wider public, the latest plan is to focus on services for seniors.

But opposition leaders are denouncing the change, demanding the entire project be scrapped.

The province justifies the move saying that they’ve consulted with specialists and experts, all pointing to the increasing needs of an aging population.

“They are telling us there is a need and we know that it’s coming. It’s kind of a wave,” said Youri Chassin, the CAQ’s MNA for  Saint-Jérôme.

Mini hospitals for the general population were a CAQ flagship promise.

Original plans were to include an outpatient clinic specializing in geriatrics in Montreal and an outpatient clinic specializing in pediatrics in Quebec City.

The new version of these mini hospitals does not include an emergency room or operating rooms.

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“Another broken promise, another lack of vision, another, what we can say, «n’importe quoi», from this CAQ government,” said Liberal leader Marc Tanguay.

Québec solidaire’s health critic, Vincent Marissal says he wants the CAQ to scrap the project.

“Do I agree that seniors need more good services? Of course, I do. 100 per cent. Do I agree that it should be done absolutely by the private sector? No, I’m not there,” he said.

He argues relying on the private sector will continue to drain health-care staff from the public.

“You know, draining our staff from the public to the private sector is not doing any good,” Marissal said.

The Parti Québécois (PQ) thinks investing more in the private sector is a waste of taxpayers’ money. They find the CAQ’s move laughable.

“We are spending a billion dollars having nurses come from private agencies to take care of our people in the public system, that tells a lot on the waste of money in the health system,” said PQ health critic Joel Arseneau.

Patients rights advocate Paul Brunet is in favour of more and faster care for the elderly, but he wonders what data the government used to make the decision, adding that there are other solutions already working.

“Verdun and some other CLSCs in Quebec have proven that when doctors go and visit elders at home and treat them at home, we save 50 per cent of transport to the hospital,” said Brunet.

The mini hospitals are set to open next year.

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