Mental health: reduced waiting lists artificially accuses APTS

probleme-plus-criant-montreal-36Managers use subterfuge to artificially reduce the length of waiting lists in certain sectors of the health network and look good to their superiors at the Ministry of Health.

This is at least the claims of the Alliance of professional and technical staff of the Health and Social Services (APTS), which represents some 32,000 employees, including social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists and speech of the public network.

According to APTS, it is mainly the areas of home care and mental health who are affected by this phenomenon, which would be amplified since the creation of integrated health centers and social services (CISSS).

Some CISSS have completely abolished the waiting lists for mental health, according to the union, forcing psychologists treat their patients in group therapy, rather than private sessions, regardless of diagnosis.

“In that way, it is more productive, notes Stéphane Léger, vice president of the APTS. But I call it pseudo-performance. More productive air was on paper, but do we give a good client care quality?

“In some cases it is not. But it was nice statistics and so can we meet the standards for waiting times to access, “he adds.

These tags are set by the Ministry. They establish a maximum period of 30 days waiting for primary care mental health and 60 days for secondary care. Unrealistic expectations with the resources in place, the union believes.

To meet government expectations, so some managers play with the rules. “A patient should not wait more than 30 days, so we made it disappear,” Mr. Léger illustrates.

Another trick that would have been brought to light by the APTS is to impose social workers to support all new patients who come, even if they have no time for them.

“The patient believes he is supported, but there is no intervention is going to do before maybe a few weeks,” says Léger. Situations that put a lot of pressure on the professionals of the health network and place them, in some cases, in situations of ethical misconduct, says APTS.

According to the union, these practices existed before the implementation of CISSS, but they would be intensified in the spring.

“Since the project implementation of law 10, there is a kind of competition between managers to demonstrate they are really performing, so they meet the tags,” says Léger.

To counter this, the APTS is launching a campaign called “hidden waiting lists – Presto will jump.” The union will conduct a national survey on “management misleading” waiting lists and calls upon all its members to denounce makeup waiting lists in their workplace on leprestovasauter.org site.

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Gaétan Barrette, looked forward hard evidence of the existence of this phenomenon before speaking. In a written statement submitted by his Press Secretary, Mr. Barrette said that “it is important that the management of waiting lists is not done with cosmetic adjustments, but by a real patient contact.”

It adds that Act 10 has increased the accountability of managers and Bill 20 on access to health care – which is currently debated in committee – will improve “fluidity in access to specialists.”

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