Report unmasks an underfunded and ill-prepared health system

By Geoff Agombar – Local Journalism Initiative
Report unmasks an underfunded and ill-prepared health system

Quebec entered the first wave of the Covid pandemic underprepared, understaffed, underfunded and underequipped for what lay ahead, according to a report by Quebec’s Commissioner of health and wellbeing.

Despite a measured tone and a focus on our collective responsibility, the report’s implications remain scathing and revolutionary.

Smouldering between the lines is the constant sense that experts had flagged problems, but successive governments had failed to implement recommendations leaving Quebec vulnerable.

A list of answers to the question “Why did this happen?” for example, ends with an acknowledgement that “Some of these findings were made following the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and were the subject of recommendations in 2012 (…) In light of the consultations and the experience of the current pandemic, it appears that the conclusions of this report have not been integrated into Ministry of Health and Social Services practices.”

These critiques are balanced by a repeated refrain to seize this opportunity to do what needs to be done. As noted in Commissioner Joanne Castonguay’s introduction, “This is not the first time a stakeholder has alerted the government to the need to correct shortcomings in the system and denounced their inertia.”
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