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Pontiac needs health care - from Québec

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Added: Wed, 03/25/2020 - 3:32pm
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Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

In earlier columns, we asked the Outaouais’ health authority, CISSSO, to explain the board’s continued management errors and poor planning, delivering to Pontiac’s healthcare one closure after the next, especially for general surgery and obstetrics. “That’s right, pregnant ladies of the Pontiac, schedule your birth in Gatineau or Maniwaki – or maybe Ontario – just not close to home.” We asked for an explanation,  a projection as to when provincial funding will match that of other medical zones.   CISSSO does not do explanations, especially to explain itself, especially to rural citizens and their media.
This time CISSSO has explained, sort of. CISSSO acknowledged a report in Le Droit on Pontiac’s emergency ambulance service shortfalls. Yes, apparently we
are “often” without ambulance coverage in the Pontiac. More “often” than
we might suspect. So, expecting an ambulance for a problematic birth ... ?
Zone 702 (in the Pontiac centred on the hospital in Shawville) often finds itself without ambulance service since our two vehicles are commonly on inter-
hospital deliveries. CISSSO admits this shortage ... but it’s not their fault! Quebec City hasn’t allocated sufficient funds for ambulance service in the Pontiac. 
Paramedics are complaining, so has CISSSO taken the battle to Quebec City and Health Minister McCann’s office? 
Why would they do that, since CISSSO pretends all other problems here are out of their hands? It’s actually our fault – too many demands on facilities and staff, basically.  A previous column suggested CISSSO managers should be penalised for repeated failures to solve or even anticipate so many continuing problems. There would be penalties in the private sector for such embarrassing management
mistakes. Such errors are not ignored in private businesses – why here? 
No one in CISSSO or Minister McCann’s office has responded. Ah, yes, Rule One: Health bureaucrats do not respond.
So we get left with another health service breakdown in the Outaouais. A heart-attack? Get yourself to the hospital! But the surgery may be shut. Get yourself to Gatineau Hospital! It’s CISSSO’s crown jewel (the province ranks it as one of the worst in Quebec). Saved! - we live close to another province. Go there. This isn’t La Tuque, hundreds of miles from the R.O.C.
And our MNA, Andre Fortin? A month ago he announced he was furious! Yet he wasn’t outraged when his party, then in power, introduced the cuts, the “Barrette reforms” – he voted for them! Fortunately we have Mayor Sandra Murray,
and Josey Bouchard of Voix du Pontiac, leading the disappointed – and irate – Pontiac citizens. They all deserve medals.
We have to support and continue these protests, but ask why protest
CISSSO? Doesn’t this battle have to go to the Health Minister, over and over? Québec under the Liberals and CAQ has refused to fund the Outaouais equal
with other regions. Citizen protests can end that attitude. And low-quality management, locally, must be replaced.