A petition has been launched requesting that regional health authority CISSSO add a weekly sample collection service at the clinic (known by their French acronym CLSC) in Quyon.
Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt is a physician that practices at the Quyon facility as well as the Pontiac Hospital in Shawville. She said that patients of the clinic have to get their blood and other samples taken at other facilities in the region. Given the distances involved, and since many patients were wary of going to the hospital during the peaks of the pandemic, Vander Stelt said that there is an easy solution in offering the service locally.
Vander Stelt questioned why sample collection has never been offered at the clinic, but is at the smaller CLSC location in Chapeau.
Municipality of Pontiac resident Pat Lusk was the originator of the petition, but declined to comment on the record. Mayor Roger Larose said he fully supported the initiative, and pointed out that the local public transportation collective, TransporAction, has had difficulty recruiting drivers in the area, which adds to the mobility difficulties for those without access to a vehicle.
Pontiac MNA André Fortin said that he was full in support of the initiative, and said he had already had some initial discussions with representatives from the CISSSO.
Day medicine hopefully next on the list
Vander Stelt explained that another service that used to be offered in Quyon is what’s called “day medicine” which encompasses things like dressing changes, taking out stitches or other minor tasks. Following the amalgamation of the region’s health care services in 2015 as part of the Couillard government’s centralization legislation, that service was cut, and Vander Stelt said that some patients have been told to travel as far as Fort-Coulonge (just over 60 km from Quyon) for minor treatments that could be taken care of locally. The return of these services was not included in the petition, but Vander Stelt said that it would be a logical next step.
Vander Stelt is involved with a group of doctors across the province calling for the decentralization of health care administration.
The full text of the petition is as follows:
"CONSIDERING THAT it is imperative for Quebecers from all regions of Quebec to have access to local health care;
CONSIDERING THAT the price of gasoline and the lack of public transportation are making logistics increasingly difficult for access to certain health care institutions;
CONSIDERING THAT hospital services are not required for sample collection;
CONSIDERING THAT there is no sample collection service in the municipality of Pontiac;
We, the undersigned, ask the Government of Quebec to set up a sample collection service centre at the CLSC de Quyon for weekly testing starting in June 2022."
Physical copies of the petition are available at the Quyon CLSC, as well as several depanneurs in the area. The online version of the petition can be found here. The signing deadline is listed as June 2.