Quebec’s Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Gaétan Barrette, spoke to a packed house of medical students and residents August 25 for more than four hours on the future of health care and the physician’s role in the province. The event, which took place in the Charles F. Martin Amphitheatre of the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building, was live-streamed to satellite locations in Gatineau, Val d’Or and Chateauguay.
Following brief introductions by VP Health Affairs and Dean of Medicine David Eidelman and Provost and VP Academics Christopher Manfredi, Dr. Barrette presented an overview of the economics of Quebec health care, as well as its recent reorganization and Bill 20. Students and residents were asked to put themselves in his shoes, as he detailed the figures and social and professional contexts within which he manages the health care system.
With a particular focus on family medicine, the Minister noted that physicians entering this specialty in the future would be asked to spend less time in hospital settings. He also indicated that PREMs and PEMs would be managed differently, with positions to be made available based on geographic needs. Advanced access was also key for the Minister to ensuring greater access to physicians for the general population.
During the question and answer period, students and residents lined the centre aisle of the auditorium to ask their thoughtful and pertinent questions of the Minister. Dr. Barrette prolonged his stay beyond the scheduled three hours to engage with the many who remained in frank discussion, a gesture that was appreciated by those in attendance.