New CISSSO Committee aims to improve Pontiac’s healthcare services

The newly created Local Service Territorial Committee has a mandate to share concerns of health and social service needs in the Pontiac. Left to right: Nicole Boucher-Larivière, Michel Vallière, Émil Vallée, Roger Larose, Kim Lesage, Josey Bouchard, Johanne Dubois, Rémi Bertrand, Pierre Saint-Cyr, Dr John Wooton. Absent from photo : Serge Boucher, Danielle Lanyi, Jane Toller, Kim Laroche et Sébastien Bonnerot.

Sophie Demers

MRC PONTIAC – A new committee has been formed by the Centre Intégré de Santé et de Services Sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO); called the Local Services Network (LSN) Territorial Committee, its mandate is to discuss and hopefully improve health care services in the Pontiac.

The committee is composed of members from CISSSO, Pontiac Voice, Connexions, Pontiac Social Development Table, Table des aînées retraités du Pontiac (TARP), Bouffe Pontiac, and Maison de la famille. There are MRC representatives, as well as doctors and community members.

The committee’s mandate is to raise concerns regarding health and social services needs in the area and monitor services to receive opinions from the population and partners. They aim to make improvements to local healthcare using a structured action plan.

The members recently held their second meeting, which was chaired by the committee president, Nicole Boucher-Larivière. Despite a promising mandate, some are questioning its ability to take concrete actions. “The committee is very new and will need time to settle into its role,” said Michel Vallières, from the Pontiac Social Development Table. “We are hopeful changes can be made because there are major issues. It will depend on whether the issues brought forward are listened to and if actions are taken.”

According to Rémi Bertrand, from the CISSSO Board of Directors, the creation of territorial committees was to get more direct local representation. “The committee, which has a wide range of local perspectives, will be the voice of Pontiac. Ultimately, they can make recommendations which can be brought to CISSSO or presented to their Board of Directors.” Bertrand added this is part of decentralizing which allows regions to have a more direct role in social and health services.

“There are limits to what can be accomplished but so far they have been active listeners and attentive to the needs expressed by the committee,” said Josey Bouchard, from Pontiac Voice. “There have already been small improvements; for example getting toasters for nursing homes as residents were complaining about soggy toast and lack of fresh food. It’s a step in the right direction; they are focused on giving power back to the Pontiac.”

“The goal of the committee is not to create projects or make decisions.  The goal is to provide perspective so that actions can be taken by CISSSO,” said Dr. John Wootton, a family doctor in the Pontiac. “Decentralization is a very good thing, and this is a move in the right direction. We will have to wait and see if it makes a difference in services