Montreal

Quebec to create 'super-clinics' to improve doctor access

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette says 50 "super-clinics" will be opened by the end of 2018, funneling non-urgent medical cases away from emergency rooms and ensuring more Quebecers have access to frontline care.

Gaétan Barrette vows to create 50 clinics by 2019, aimed at reducing wait times and overcrowded ERs

Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette says the new 'super-clinics' will be open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette says 50 "super-clinics" will be opened by the end of 2018, funneling non-urgent medical cases away from emergency rooms and ensuring more Quebecers have access to frontline care.

Barrette announced the creation of the program Monday.

"This model will be especially helpful to people who don't have a family doctor," Barrette said in a statement.

He said the clinics will integrate the services of other health professionals, offering blood testing, diagnostic imaging and other specialty services either on the spot or nearby.

"We want to have something in the middle that's closer to services in an ER, but where you don't have to wait 17 hours to have access to care," Barrette added.

At least 20,000 visits a year

Super-clinics will have to meet strict productivity criteria, Barrette said, and they will be evaluated annually, based on those criteria. 

Existing clinics and health professionals are also eligible to become a super-clinic.

Each super-clinic must:

  • Offer a minimum of 20,000 consultations annually.
  • Be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for a total of 84 hours weekly.
  • Offer same-day appointments, up until three hours before the clinic's closing time.
  • Offer blood and other tests on site.
  • Have an agreement with a diagnostic-imaging centre, either on site or in close proximity to the clinic.
  • Develop an efficient mechanism to link to other specialized services.

Barrette said at least 80 per cent of the 20,000 annual visits must be for patients who do not have a family doctor or whose doctor does not operate out of the super-clinic.

"It's an additional model that will be more uniform," he told CBC's Homerun. "People will know that the super-clinic in their area will be open seven days a week, 12 hours a day."

The super-clinics will be distributed across the province based on population. Each clinic is expected to serve geographic zones of 50,000 residents.

In the greater Montreal area, the Health Ministry has identified 47 such zones.

Additional funding for the super-clinics will be based on how many consultations per year they provide. A clinic that sees 20,000 to 30,000 a year will receive $83,000, while those that see more than 60,000 will be eligible for $233,000 in financing.

Barrette said he's already heard from doctors who want to open super-clinics. 

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