Quebec reaches deal with medical specialists

Quebec medical specialists have reached a deal with the province after nine months of mediation, the province announced Tuesday.

Quebec medical specialists have reached a deal with the province after nine months of mediation, the province announced Tuesday.

Specialists' salaries will increase 25 per cent by 2016, and doctors who take new patient appointments within a short time frame will receive bonuses.

The new deal will help the province recruit and keep more specialists, Health Minister Philippe Couillard said at a news conference in Quebec City.

"The health care system... has to be based on incentives that work," he said. "If you study health care systems around the world, this is the way it is done."

The deal doesn't satisfy all the needs of the province's specialists but is a satisfactory compromise, Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists president Gaétan Barrette said.

Delegates from the federation voted 91 per cent in favour of the deal.

Quebec's specialists earn two-thirds the salary of their counterparts in other provinces, on average.

The federation had demanded enough of a wage hike to bridge the gap. It scorned the provincial government's previous offers of 12.5-per-cent and 15-per-cent wage hikes in 2006, and medical specialists across the province threatened to stop providing health services, including child delivery.