Quebec failing at finding patients family doctors: CAQ

Quebec is doing dismally at finding a family doctor for those without one, claims the leader of the Coalition Avenir Quebec.

Documents obtained by the party by way of an access to information request show many Quebecers are still waiting up to 16 months before they are matched with a family doctor, Francois Legault said on Sunday.

According to the data, some 492,000 Quebecers are without a family doctor—109,736 of these so-called "orphan" patients are in the Montreal alone—and wait an average over 270 to 477 days before being seen by one.

The goal originally outlined by Health Minister Gaetan Barrette in his reforms was to cut orphan patients' waiting period for securing a family doctor to between 30 and 90 days.

Barrette says the CAQ is twisting the numbers, and the doctor-patient matching process is speeding up.

"Just imagine, if we have a whole year of 75,000 patients being enrolled per month for the next 12 months—do the math, that's where we're at today—a year and a half ago we were at a pace of 20,000 to 25,000 per month," Barrette said in a phone interview on Sunday, indicating that at that pace it would take about eight months to match every single of the 492,000 Quebecers without a doctor with a family physician.

Barrette has said in the past that it is up to general practitioners themselves to reorganize their schedules to take on more patients.

—with files from CTV Montreal