• Stuart Benson

Prefect applauds plan to decentralize healthcare

Lamarche has called for decentralized healthcare since 2015


Prefect of the MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, Chantal Lamarche, is applauding Premier François Legault for his recent announcement that the province would be decentralizing the health network.


Legault made the announcement in his inaugural speech to the National Assembly on Oct. 19, promising to transfer power and decision making to local health authorities.


“The people who are best placed to choose the best ways to meet our objectives are those on the ground, those who are close to the action,” Legault told the legislature.


MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau Prefect Chantal Lamarche applauded the Quebec premier’s recent announcement that the province will decentralize its health system. Low Down file photo
MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau Prefect Chantal Lamarche applauded the Quebec premier’s recent announcement that the province will decentralize its health system. Low Down file photo

This announcement is welcome news for Lamarche, whose MRC has been calling for local decision making to return to the local level since the health care system was initially centralized by the then Liberal government in 2015.


“I salute the Premier’s announcement,” Lamarche told The Low Down. “I want to get back what the region lost back then.”


While Lamarche is still waiting on more details of the form the decentralization will take, she hopes the move will help bring jobs back to the region and allow decisions to be made based on the reality on the ground.


“CISSSO in Gatineau does not understand that reality,” Lamarche said. “They don't seem to care about the distance residents in the MRC have to travel...sometimes up to a two-hour drive for simple health services.”


Lamarche hopes to bring back the board of directors at the hospital in Maniwaki, which provided full-time supervision and direction for the local health care services.


“The decisions for the hospital were made inside the hospital, not in Gatineau,” Lamarche said.


Lamarche argued that the Premier had no choice but to give governance back to local MRCs and municipalities, a sentiment Legault seemed to agree with in his announcement, calling the current system “dysfunctional.”


“When we look at the current management of human resources in the health network, we see a dysfunctional system, where 40% of employees are part-time,” Legault told the National Assembly on Oct. 19. “There is no flexibility, with mandatory overtime, and we end up with exhausted employees who leave the network.”