Quebec MDs ask for pay to volunteer in Haiti
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | 3:04 PM ET
Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc said he's still evaluating a request by some doctors that they be reimbursed $704 per day by the province for volunteer work in Haiti.
Some of the 20 orthopedic specialists interested in the mission have landed in the Caribbean country, where as many as 200,000 people were killed two weeks ago in a massive earthquake.
"We're going take a look at their demands and after we're going to give them an answer," said Bolduc on Wednesday.
"We have to think about that because there are many consequences to the decision because you have many people who work in Haiti and they are volunteers and they are not paid. What does it mean for all these people?" he added.
As of midday Wednesday, the health ministry had only received a request for remuneration from the group representing orthopedists, said Bolduc, who questioned whether this would set a precedent for other specialists groups.
A spokesperson for the Quebec's association of orthopedists said that while doctors are volunteering in Haiti, they still have bills to pay in Quebec.
The offices are still running and the specialists are paying secretaries and taxes, so the government has been asked for help, said association vice-president Dr. Louis Bellemare.
The doctors who are in Haiti will stay, regardless of whether the government agrees to reimburse them, added Bellemare. But if they were paid the $704 base fee they normally receive in Quebec, they might stay longer and more doctors might decide they could afford to go, he added.
The head of Quebec's federation of medical specialists said such a request is appropriate, given the circumstances.
Dr. Gaétan Barrette said firefighters and police officers sent to Haiti are remunerated, and physicians should be too.With files from The Canadian Press
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