The second wave of COVID-19 is worsening across the country.
Operations and appointments have to be canceled again to deal with the situation. The hope of vaccination is clear, but we still have months, and vaccination will not solve everything. It is in this context that the prime ministers of Canada meet to discuss health financing. The Federation of Specialist Physicians of Quebec expresses its full support for Premier Legault who, like his counterparts, will demand a substantial and lasting increase in the Canada health transfer. The stake is of great importance.
The federal government quickly released large sums to cushion the shock of the crisis, and voices are concerned about the deficit. We have to separate the issues. The effects of the pandemic on the economy and finances are serious. However, they will be partially resolved with vaccination. In return, COVID-19 will have long-term effects on the health system. You have to realize it and prepare for it.
Dre Diane Francoeur, President of the Federation of Specialist Physicians of Quebec
Thousands of people contract the disease every day. Many will not require special care, but most will experience breathing difficulties requiring medical attention, others will be intubated and hospitalized in intensive care. The direct additional costs are significant, especially in terms of overworked staff and equipment. Vaccination will reduce these pressures, but other costs will persist:
-People who have developed a severe form of COVID-19 will live with lasting or even permanent sequelae which will require regular care;
-More than 132,000 surgeries and tens of thousands of appointments were postponed in Quebec during the first wave and the power cuts planned for January have already been brought forward, the situation is so critical … The risk that the condition of people deteriorating by the time they can be treated is real and will have costs;
– Behind the scenes of this pandemic is looming an upsurge in problems of depression, anxiety, and other mental health or drug addiction problems caused or amplified by the pandemic;
-Finally, the disease will have exacerbated the already problematic fatigue in the health network and left behind breathless teams. It is foreseeable that a good number of professionals will choose to leave the network in the years to come, auguring new difficulties in terms of staff.
The health crisis is weighing on a health network already heavily strained by the aging of the population, weakened by the lack of personnel and the dilapidated nature of certain establishments.
Vaccination will reduce the spread of the disease and restore healthier economic and social life. But there will remain a long-term COVID-19 bill and the federal government must help Quebec and the other provinces pay it.
Dre Diane Francoeur
President of the Federation of Specialist Physicians of Quebec