Hello CISSSO . . . calling CISSSO . . .

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Is health care, in essence, a service impossible to deliver well? We might conclude this, watching the Outaouais’ health-care management, CISSSO, deliver its regular announcements of service disruptions, then service re-organizations, followed by further service breakdowns. Is CISSSO’s environment of rolling chaos found everywhere? So, why here?

Is health care, in essence, a service impossible to deliver well? We might conclude this, watching the Outaouais’ health-care management, CISSSO, deliver its regular announcements of service disruptions, then service re-organizations, followed by further service breakdowns. Is CISSSO’s environment of rolling chaos found everywhere? So, why here?
Week before last, CISSSO announced another temporary closure of surgery in Pontiac’s community hospital. Pontiac has fully operating facilities – including obstetrics (except for emergency c-sections!) “Go to Gatineau,” CISSSO advised Pontiac citizens, or even to another province “– Pembroke”. Earlier this year, Maniwaki’s hospital was without obstetrics for an extended period – and that’s no mere 30 minute ride to a functioning hospital for a woman in labour. (See page 7)
Ditto for other rural hospitals, Wakefield and Buckingham. Ditto, often, in the city.
What makes this worth an editorial – and our outrage – is that CISSSO, after killing most rural healthcare management positions (and concentrating specialist services in the Gatineau hospitals), is now urging Gatineau dwellers to make more use of – the rural hospitals! 
Pontiac physicians estimate that about 30% of cases in Shawville’s emergency service already come from Aylmer and Gatineau. These folks find it quicker to drive the 45 minutes and wait here, rather than waiting hours in CISSSO’s home turf, Hull or Gatineau. Central to this managerial and planning fiasco is the fact that rural hospitals are funded not by volume, but by their surrounding population numbers. Every city dweller seen by Pontiac emergency services takes not only time from local people, for whom this hospital was built and enlarged, but uses a limited budget designed for local citizens. No one would argue that emergencies be treated according to their place of origin – but to have CISSSO claim that their juggling act of services, personnel, and funding does provide adequate healthcare is, well, outrageous.
Our former government left the Outaouais with this mess – un-renewed infrastructure, un-filled personnel shortages, compounded by the awful withdrawal-of-management decision, insisted upon by ex-Health Minister Barrette. Today we have an opportunity for our new government to show us – show, no more yak-yak-yak – that the health of all Quebeckers is really one of its high priorities. Are we to believe that Quebec can’t manage and fund its fourth largest city’s health system, nor that of its rural system? Can’t we ask why Quebec, and specifically CISSSO, can’t seem to organize and manage a functioning basic system of every-day and emergency health care? Simple questions.
So, lastly, why does CISSSO management feel they have absolutely no obligation to answer these questions, nor explain the near-monthly breakdown in service delivery? Why does CISSSO refuse to explain their
system-crashes – following its total re-organization of the territory? 
We fund this system through our taxes, yet we don’t deserve solutions or even genuine explanations for its chaos? Are rural patients really expendable? Over to you, CISSSO.

Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist