Health budget cuts in Quebec

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i have been working for most of the month of March in a hospital here in Montreal.  I am retired after over thirty years in the system.  Occasionally I am called to do fill in periods of work when my old co-workers are sick or on unpaid leave.  I love being retired but I also love the pace and interest of the work in social service in a community hospital.  I was welcomed by old friends and when I left people seemed genuinely sorry to see me go.  A doctor and a head nurse told me I should come back full time and that I was ” needed”.  That felt good.  It felt good to effect change, to intervene for good ( I hope) at a moment of crisis.  Every hospitalization is a moment of crisis for patients and their families.  It can be life-changing or part of an unfortunate pattern.  It it is never a day just like any other.

I will never go back full time for two reasons.  I am happy to be retired and have found other interests to occupy my time.  The other reason is that for the foreseeable future, the Provincial Government will not pay me a salary.  In fact, there are much bigger and more important cuts being implemented.  I was disturbed to see a fundamental change in the mood of the hospital I had come to love over my years of work.  People are discouraged, apprehensive, more impatient than I have ever seen them.  A popular topic of conversation was how many months or years until people could retire.  I saw people working at warp speed, exhausted, harassed.  I don’t consider that a safe environment.  I am not a statistician, an accountant, or God forbid, a politician.  I am starting to be a consumer of health care services rather than a provider.  I am one of the infamous baby boomers and the years are starting to take their toll.  Although in general good health ( I could boast up until a couple of weeks ago that I took no medication on a regular basis) now I can see some problems looming.  In 2014, 7% of Canada’ population was over 65 and next year there will be more people over 65 than under  the age of 15.  What I just wrote presents a dilemma. People over 65 are big consumers of health care.  Normal, they get sick more.  But if you don’t have a young working population to pay for these services, there is a serious problem.  Politicians usually have two approaches to a problem:  they throw money at it or they take a hatchet to it. We  are going to live through the hatchet phase for a while. Let’s hope there’s somebody left to bind up the wounds when they’re done.  The last letter I got from the Provincial Health Insurance plan ended with the kindly advice to ” look after myself”. Somewhat ironic in the circumstances.

One thought on “Health budget cuts in Quebec

  1. Oh my! After experiencing superb care before, during and after my husband’s surgery in New York, it pains me to hear your words! We just moved from Montreal in the Fall. I hope that solutions will be found not too hurtful to the folks that count on medical care! God bless all care givers! They are the physical presence of His angelic hosts. Of this am am convinced!

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