Hello CISSSO. . . calling CISSSO. . .
Is healthcare, in essence, a service impossible to deliver well? We might conclude this watching the Outaouais’ healthcare management, CISSSO, deliver its regular announcements of service disruptions, then service reorganizations, followed by further service breakdowns. Is CISSO’s environment of rolling chaos found everywhere?
Last week, CISSSO announced another temporary closure of surgery in the Pontiac’s regional hospital. Pontiac has full operating facilities – except obstetrics. “Go to Gatineau,” CISSO advised rural citizens, or to another province “– Pembroke”. Not long ago, the Maniwaki hospital was without obstetrics for an extended period, and Maniwaki is not a mere 30-minute ride from a functioning hospital. Pregnant women can hardly delay while waiting for a revival of service, can they?
Ditto for other regional hospitals, Wakefield and Buckingham. Ditto in the city.
What makes this worth an editorial – and our outrage – is that CISSSO, after killing most regional healthcare management positions and concentrating specialist services in the Gatineau hospitals, then urged Gatineau dwellers to make more use of – regional hospitals!
Pontiac physicians estimate that at least 30% of cases in the local emergency service already come from Aylmer and Gatineau. These folks find it quicker to drive the 45 minutes to Shawville and wait there, rather than waiting hours in CISSSO’s home turf, Hull or Gatineau. Central to this managerial and planning fiasco is the fact that rural hospitals are funded not by volume but by their surrounding population numbers. Every city dweller seen by Pontiac emergency services takes not only time from the local people, for whom this hospital was built and enlarged – but uses a limited budget, designed for local citizens. No one would argue that emergencies should be treated according to their place of origin – but to have CISSSO claim that their juggling act of services, personnel, and funding does provide adequate healthcare is, well, outrageous.
The former government left the Outaouais with this mess – old infrastructure, personnel shortages, compounded by the awful withdrawal-of-management decision, insisted upon by ex-Health Minister Barrette. This is an opportunity for the new government to show us – show, no more yak-yak-yak – that the health of all Quebeckers is really one of its high priorities. Are we to believe that Quebec can’t manage and fund its fourth largest city’s health system? Can’t we ask why Quebec, and specifically CISSSO, can’t seem to organize and manage a functioning basic system of basic and emergency health care?
Lastly, why does CISSSO management feel they have no obligation to answer these questions, nor explain the near-monthly breakdown in specific service deliveries? Why does CISSSO refuse to explain the system-crashes – following its total re-organization of the territory?
We fund this system through our taxes, yet we don’t deserve solutions or genuine explanations for its chaos? Over to you, CISSSO.