Montreal hospitals score low on
accessibility, survey says
hospitals were ranked as poor performers in a survey of patient
accessibility to hospitals across the province of Quebec. L’Actualité
magazine conducted the study of wait times at hospitals across the
province, and found that only three Montreal hospitals rank among the
top 25, with several clustered near the bottom of the ranking.
Of the 18 Montreal hospitals, seven received grades below 60 percent,
including St. Luc, the Royal Victoria, Sacré Coeur, Santa Cabrini, Notre
Dame, Hôtel Dieu and Maisonneuve-Rosemont.
The magazine used three factors to evaluate accessibility of healthcare
at the facilities: average wait time for emergency care, the percentage
of patients waiting more than six months for elective surgery, and
whether laboratory services are available without an appointment. The
total mark was calculated by combining these scores.
Out of the 86 hospitals evaluated, the three earning the highest marks
are in smaller communities: Baie St. Paul, Magog and Thetford Mines.
The magazine spread includes a profile of the Centre de santé et de
services sociaux de la région de Thetford, which tells how people from
other communities, including Montreal, are making the trip to Thetford
Mines for prompt healthcare.
The only facility on the island of Montreal that made it into the top
five is the Lachine Hospital.
The methodology for the study was developed by Yves Bolduc, director of
professional services at the Hôtel Dieu hospital in Alma, in conjunction
with the magazine. Bolduc is running as a candidate for the Liberals in
the Lac St. Jean riding.
Premier Jean Charest (pictured above) welcomed the report card, saying it is a good idea
to make the information public. “We have to do it if we want to be able
to make the right decisions afterward.”
Nor did Charest see the report card as a criticism of his government’s
“I am very proud of what we have achieved in health in the last four
years. We have taken courageous steps so that the healthcare system is
really centred on the best service to patients. We have had four
consecutive years of improvement in the health and social services
system. We haven’t seen that for a long, long time. We succeeded on
several levels to achieve our objectives and we will continue to make it
the first priority.”
Charest said Bolduc’s work on the report was completed before he was
approached to become a candidate and contributed to his decision to run
for the Liberals. “Dr. Bolduc commented on the report card and he said
it was because the Liberal Party took the steps that he thinks are the
right actions, he will be part of this team.”
Health Minister Philippe Couillard told the Montreal Gazette newspaper
that the report will help the government pinpoint areas where
improvements must be made and could help institutions that are less
efficient learn from those that posted better performances.
Couillard, a physician by training, said one of the things that struck
him was how similar-sized institutions with similar budgets performed
“What was interesting is that I noticed that within the same region,
with the same budgets, the same administrative rules, there were fairly
different levels of performance. Which shows that organization and the
way you do things are at least as important as the financial resources.”
Couillard said he was also struck by how Quebec City’s university
hospital centre posted a better performance than Montreal’s, and how the
performance levels varied among Montreal hospitals.
“Ste. Justine was at the top of the list. The McGill hospital was fairly
good – it could be better but it was fairly good. The CHUM has
difficulties. The smaller hospitals are doing well. The Jewish is doing
fairly well, St. Mary’s is doing very well, it had a very good score.”
Couillard said in many cases, the report confirmed what the government
already suspected. In many cases, the government was already concerned
and has started to intervene in some of the hospitals that received the
lowest scores, such as the Gatineau-Hull hospital.
Couillard said the report done by l’Actualité was far more thorough than
the one done by the previous PQ government and he hopes the magazine
repeats the exercise and adds categories.
PQ candidate Louise Harel issued a statement critical of the Charest
government’s management of emergency room overcrowding, saying the
government has not lived up to its commitments to cut waiting times.