Pay Adjustment: Agreement Contains Bold Plan to Improve Access to GP Services

    MONTREAL, Nov. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Nearly a year after the start of
mediations, the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (Quebec
Federation of General Practitioners - FMOQ) has signed an agreement with the
government on closing the pay gap between Québec general practitioners and
their colleagues in the rest of Canada. "This agreement will not only enable
us to progressively close the pay gap among GPs, but it also includes a
significant plan for improving medical services and organizing front-line
services, that will first and foremost benefit the people of Québec," stated
Dr. Renald Dutil, FMOQ President, at a press conference held jointly with the
Health and Social Services Minister, Mr. Philippe Couillard.
    The FMOQ and the government have now decided upon the financial framework
for this agreement: a pay raise to close the gap and a separate budget for the
implementation of a front-line service access improvement plan. The pay
adjustment portion was determined based on a gross remuneration gap of 45%.
This gap had been established at 50% for medical specialists. Two major
weighting factors were applied to the gross pay gap: the cost of living in
Québec and the hours worked by GPs. These parameters brought the gap to 19.3%.
However, the addition of a specific budget for an access improvement plan will
raise the overall authorized package by 30%, spread out over 2008 to 2016.
Added to that would be the amounts paid for family medicine groups (GMF).
    The plan to improve access, conditions of practice and organization of
medical services includes 25 measures that will augment the offer of
front-line services, even with a shortage of doctors. Some of these measures -
the most important ones - will be implemented starting in 2008, as they are
considered priorities by the FMOQ and the government. One of those measures is
to make sure all patients are registered with a family doctor. This
registration will be optional for both the patient and the doctor, and will
not be linked to place of residence, in order to prevent sectorization. The
list of at-risk patients will be extended to include other diseases such as
diabetes. Another measure slated to be implemented as of 2008 involves rapid
referral to a family physician for patients who are at risk or those who are
being discharged from the hospital, and who do not have family doctors.
    The creation of functional front-line medical services networks (private
offices, CLSCs, family medicine groups and network clinics) will enable
doctors to better coordinate their activities within health and social
services centre (CSSS) territories. As part of their responsibility to the
public, CSSSs will still have to support the practice of family doctors
operating in these networks.
    The integration of other health professionals, such as nurses, to support
family doctors will promote better follow-up of patients suffering from
certain chronic illnesses. Several other measures will make it easier to
recruit and retain GPs in sectors suffering the most from the shortage, such
as acute care units in our hospitals and emergency rooms. The proposed
measures are not based on restrictions, but on incentives that will strengthen
the continuity and coordination of care given by general practitioners.
    "The access improvement plan included with the agreement signed as part
of this complex issue is one of our most important projects for improving
access to family doctors and making the family doctor a key actor of our
entire health care system. The plan should give rise to new practice models
that will meet the needs of Quebecers today," concluded Dr. Dutil.

    The Quebec Federation of General Practitioners (FMOQ)

    The FMOQ, the professional union representing all general practitioners
in Québec, has more than 8,000 members. Its mission is to safeguard the
professional and scientific interests of its members. For further information
about the FMOQ, please consult its website at the following address:

For further information:

For further information: or interviews: Dr. Jacques Ricard, Director,
Planning and Regionalization/Communication Director; Marie Ruel, Communication
Consultant,, (514) 878-1911 or 1-800 361-8499,

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