Health and social services: do more to meet the needs of people who are vulnerable | Protecteur du Citoyen
November 29, 2018

Health and social services: do more to meet the needs of people who are vulnerable

Québec City, November 29, 2018 – When her 2017-2018 Annual Report was tabled in the National Assembly today, Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret expressed her concerns about the fact that, this year again, the main reason for substantiated complaints and reports about health and social services continued to be deficient service quality. She is especially critical of flawed services for the elderly or people with disabilities in CHSLDs:

"At many institutions, staff can barely keep up. The upshot is that services such as baths and dental care are put off. Needless to say, this causes significant harm to people who are highly vulnerable."

The following are some of the shortcomings concerning the health and social services network:

  • Difficulty for disabled people with complex needs to find residential resources: residential resources do not always have adapted equipment or sufficient staff to meet these people’s needs. 
  • Discontinued rehabilitation services for children starting school: children with special needs are left behind because the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and school boards pass the buck. 
  • Cultural identity of First Nations’ children: intervention plans at youth centres are not always adapted to Indigenous realities.
  • Registration with a family doctor: the rules for getting on the waiting list for a family doctor are not applied the same way from one region to another and the priority levels assigned to people are sometimes inadequate.
  • Means of control: nursing staff are sometimes too quick to resort to means of control in handling disorders and aggression.

The three main grounds for substantiated health and social services complaints and reports were deficient service quality, lengthy wait times and failings in staff skills and behaviour. Because of the Québec Ombudsman’s recommendations, problems of complainants’ and of many other people in similar situations were solved. 

For complaints concerning the health and social services network, the Québec Ombudsman acts as a second level of redress, after the service quality and complaints commissioner of the institution concerned. 

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