To give you some background, I lost my two doctors – family doctor and psychiatrist – within two years. First my first psychiatrist whom I saw every Monday morning for 20 years for 15-20 minutes of consultation. I described my condition, we discussed it and he adjusted my medication accordingly. When he retired, he found no psychiatrist to take over his patients.

A bad thing never comes alone.

Two years later, my family doctor informed us without notice that she was leaving medicine. ” Sorry. No one to take back his patients either. Even her, who is nevertheless at the head of a large medical clinic.

A few months earlier, she had found a psychiatrist who agreed to take me on as a patient. This was done by telephone, pandemic requires. At least I had that left. You think ? No, almost at the same time as my family doctor, my new psychiatrist announces that she is going on indefinite leave. Looks like a carnage.

Since I no longer have a family doctor or a specialist, I am seriously worried about my health, which does not improve my condition. I have problems that require consultation with a doctor who knows my file, medication that requires regular monitoring.

At the end of March, Minister Christian Dubé said he was undertaking a major reform of the health service over three years. First manifestation: the opening of a centralized access point to health services. As he says, we will be able to speak quickly to a health professional, but not necessarily to a doctor. “Talking” is the important word of the announcement. I’ll figure it out soon enough.

The message was understood as the promise of better days for orphan patients. Joy and doubts. The joy: according to the minister, the one million people without a family doctor will easily see a health professional in a few days – then he will rather say 500,000. Finally, access to health services, a gateway.

On April 1, barely a day after Minister Dubé’s announcement, I received a call from the CIUSS de l’Ouest de Montréal. I am informed that I will be receiving a call from a public health nurse clinician very soon for a telephone interview. I even know the date, time and duration: April 6, 2 p.m., 45 minutes.

Wow! The day after Minister Dubé’s announcement, I was granted an appointment. Almost like in Star Wars or Harry Potter. You say it, you got it!

Efficient, good Mr. Dubé.

On April 6, I’m ready. I wrote down my health report, the list of my medications, my procedures. I tell myself that finally, it will unblock, I will be able to consult and have a follow-up. A professional is still better than Doctor Google.

The interview arrives, the nurse is very nice, asks her questions and notes, I imagine, all that in my file. We really cover the subject in an hour and twenty minutes, anyway!

At the end of the interview, the nurse tells me that she wants me to find someone who can help me, in the public or private sector. She feels all my concern.

Unfortunately, she tells me, she cannot intervene in my case in any way. I am not prioritized.

However, according to what she understood, I am none of that. Now, I only hope to move quickly on the list of the access desk.

And life goes on. Anxiety, stress, I don’t know, shortly after appear severe lower back pain. Registered at the counter, I consult Bonjour santé. A paying site. There is no availability to see a doctor within a 25 km radius. Day after day I try again, there is still no room in any clinic. In private, I am offered an appointment 10 days later. Finally, I find an appointment on Saturday in a clinic in Laval. Ordinary meeting, without proposal, without follow-up.

Then I find a small doorway: an experienced doctor in a crowded clinic. I spent half an hour with him. He offered me medication and to come back in a year to see if it worked.

If I use the same entrance again, I can come back to the same clinic and maybe meet the same doctor…

In the meantime, I’m not well at all and we continue to search. To say it’s not okay is an understatement.


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