Montreal

Quebec doctors criticize registry connecting patients to physicians

The online database went into effect one week ago but some doctors say they are being matched with patients who live too far away or who are located in other regions.

Family physicians say they are matched with patients in different regions

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette admits there are a few bugs to fix but that overall the tool works well. (iStock)

Quebec doctors are experiencing problems with the province's new tool to connect patients with family physicians.

The online database went into effect one week ago but some doctors say they are being matched with patients who live too far away or who are located in other regions.

"Doctors who work in Montreal are being referred to patients in St-Eustache, doctors on Montreal's South Shore are being referred to patients in downtown Montreal," Louis Godin, the president of Quebec's federation of general practitioners said.

"We've had several similar situations."

Dr. Vincent Demers says when he logged into the registry, he was matched with patients in different towns far from his base in Quebec City. 

He says patients need access to physicians who are nearby.

"For the patients, we're not providing a service if we make them travel 30 kilometres to see their doctor," Demers told Radio-Canada.

'It's not very complicated'

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette admits there are a few bugs to fix but that overall the tool works well.

"The doctor simply has to go down the list. It's a drop down list," Barrette said. "It's not very complicated so I don't see the problem."

Godin disagrees and says the tool may have been launched too early.

"Concerning a plan of functionality, we weren't really ready to launch this database," Godin told Radio-Canada.

Over 60,000 people have added their names to the online database, according to Barrette.

Under Bill 20, Barrette promised that 85 per cent of Quebecers will have family doctors by Dec. 31, 2017.

With files from Jay Turnbull and Camille Simard

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