September 28, 2017

Two years after reform of the health and social services network, access to certain services still poses problems

Québec City, September 28, 2017 – In her 2016-2017 Annual Report tabled in the National Assembly today, the Ombudsperson describes complaints and reports showing that deployment of the health and social services network reform has not produced expected improvements in access to certain services adapted to people’s needs. Cases in point are long-term home support and support for elderly autonomy.

“For example, I see that the slate of services tends towards a levelling down, especially when it comes to home support. People who used to receive a certain number of hours of services learn that cuts have been made or that they no longer qualify, even though their needs have not lessened,” Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret indicated. (p. 88)

Deficient service quality, long wait times and failure to respect rights

  • Inappropriate pairing of client populations, inadequate management of difficult behaviour, deficient supervision ratio: shortcomings affect certain residential facilities for people with disabilities whose needs are complex. An exceptional occurrence this year, the Québec Ombudsman’s action led to the closure of three resources. (p. 90)
  • Because some parents did not have timely access to mental health services, the DPJ took their children from them. Further to recommendations by the Québec Ombudsman, procedures were reviewed to foster greater coordination among CLSCs, those in charge of access to public psychotherapy services, and the DPJ. (p. 94)
  • People with mental health problems were denied services, notably by community organizations, or subjected to means of control by some hospitals. The decisions were sound, but the information provided to the people concerned was sorely insufficient or unclear. The result: these people concluded that the personnel had made arbitrary decisions, which was not the case. The institutions in question introduced measures in response to the Québec Ombudsman’s recommendation. (p. 101)
  • Despite the creation of the waiting list to find a family doctor (GAMF), difficulties persisted as at March 31, 2017. Because the Québec Ombudsman stepped in, the priority ranking of certain people was changed to better correspond to their needs. (p. 102)
  • Again this year, lengthy wait times for diagnostic tests generated complaints. For example, at one institution, the wait time for a breast ultrasounds was 18 months. Acting on the Québec Ombudsman’s recommendation, the institution introduced various measures and the wait time was whittled down to 20 days. (p. 107)
  • For the fifth consecutive year, the Québec Ombudsman spoke out against home support failings. Again this year, the average duration of interventions decreased. It cautioned that the quality of services provided to each individual should not suffer because of the increased number of people getting assistance. (p. 109)
  • At a time when the need for residential facilities for the elderly is growing, stricter admission requirements, longer delays and increasing reliance on private seniors’ residences unequipped to deal with people with a severe loss of autonomy were noted this year. In its Annual Report, the Québec Ombudsman made a formal recommendation to the Department. (p. 115)
  • For lack of sufficient information, confusion persists about the accessory costs abolished on January 26, 2017, and the costs that are billable because they are charged for uninsured services. This year, the Québec Ombudsman noticed that some institutions misinterpreted the rules and sometimes charged fees when they should not have. The resulting complaints handled by the Québec Ombudsman prompted the institutions to review their decisions. (p. 117)

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Information: Carole-Anne Huot (418) 646-7143/(418) 925-7994
carole-anne.huot@protecteurducitoyen.qc.ca