"What priority will be given to health in the upcoming election campaign?" wonders the RPCU (PDF)
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"What priority will be given to health in the upcoming election campaign?" wonders the RPCU
The RPCU announces its health issues for the upcoming election
MONTREAL, July 27, 2012 - The Regroupement provincial des comités des usagers (RPCU) is concerned that users of the health care system may be forgotten in the upcoming election. Over the past few months, it has therefore been meeting with the main political parties to present four major issues as we head into an election campaign.
"We have four very simple issues," said Pierre Blain, Director General of the RPCU. "They are: seniors in residential and long-term care centres and assessment visits, accessibility of services, governance and the value of employees' role."
None of the political parties has so far released a firm commitment in the area of health for the upcoming election. The RPCU thus proposes some fundamental issues for users in the lead-up to the campaign.
"Many promises have been made in previous elections and our health care system is still in need of repair," said Claude Ménard, President of the RPCU. "We still have serious problems with accessibility and staffing, not to mention funding. Are we going to see more promises this time or will we have a commitment to solve these problems?" he asked.
Users have the right to know not just what the political parties promise but what they propose to do to improve the health care system. Users don't want a campaign that focuses on saving money when the savings come at their expense. They want to hear about improvements in the services delivered to them. We need a commitment to shift from bureaucracy to action for effective, modern services.
"Why are there only four inspectors to conduct assessment visits at residential and long-term care centres, when there are 600 user and in-patient committees already in place that could be called on at lower cost?" said Pierre Blain. The RPCU has made concrete proposals in this regard and is still awaiting a response. "It raises the issue of the place we want to give seniors in our society."
It is critical to find solutions to improve accessibility of services, reduce waiting times, hire qualified staff and halt the rising cost of health care. The reduction in health transfer payments announced by the federal government is an ominous sign. The RPCU has thus initiated Users' Rights Week to inform users and raise awareness of their rights.
"Informed users will be more familiar with services, will make more judicious use of them and, above all, will demand accountability from the authorities," said Pierre Blain.
The RPCU hopes for a review of the way in which the health and social services network is governed, which implies redefining the role of health care boards and giving users a say in decision making. It is widely felt that their voices are not being heard. According to the agency, section 174 of the Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services needs to be amended to bring it in line with section 3 of the Act "the person requiring services is the reason for the very existence of those services."
The RPCU is also demanding that the work done by health and social services network employees be valued as it once was. Health care workers have difficult jobs and often feel neglected.
"Our workers are the most important resource in the health care system. They are on the front lines. They are the first point of contact that users have with the system and reflect the system. What are we doing to improve their working conditions?" said Mr. Blain. "It's time we talked about the real issues affecting workers: stand-by duty, working hours, wages and the value of their work."
The RPCU will be visible throughout the election campaign and will voice its reaction as various issues are raised.
Summary of Issues
- The RPCU wants user and in-patient committees to be used in assessment visits to residential and long-term care centres and considered partners on the front line - The society we want for our seniors;
- The RPCU wants Users' Rights Week to be officially recognized by the authorities - Accessibility at the heart of users' rights;
- The RPCU wants steps to be taken to reassert the value of the work that staff and volunteers do in the health and social services sector - Employees, our most valuable resource;
- The RPCU wants section 174 of the Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services to be amended to bring it in line with the guidelines for managing and providing health and social services set out in section 3 of the Act: the person requiring services is the reason for the very existence of those services - Giving users a say in network governance.
Profile of the RPCU
The Regroupement provincial des comités des usagers (RPCU) advocates on behalf of users and is the spokesperson for the 600 user and in-patient committees in Quebec's health and social services establishments. The committees' mission is to defend users' rights and work to improve the quality of services provided to users.
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Telephone: 514 436-3744