Quebec’s health minister stated that he would sign a ministerial decree to block dentists from withdrawing from the public health system; this way public dental services will be maintained in the province.
Gaétan Barrette’s announcement came just after 2,000 dentists filed paperwork to withdraw from the public system, so the health minister’s action in quite understandable.
This escalation erupted after the two sides have been disputing regarding the threat that dentists will pull out of the system and deprive hundreds of thousands of people of subsidized care if the parties cannot reach an agreement.
The first withdrawals will take effect in August
On the other hand, the dentist association president Serge Langlois said that the first batch of withdrawals filed Thursday is scheduled to take effect August 25.
He also stated that this gives the government plenty of time to make a deal.
“Thirty days is a very, very sufficient period to be able to reach an agreement,” he told a news conference and continued, “But for that, Barrette needs to put an end to his attitude.”
The dentists asked that Premier Philippe Couillard intervenes in the negotiations with their association’s 4,300 members who are contractless since back in 2015.
They said that they are no longer interested in a deal with Barrette and they accuse him of wanting to make changes that will only lower the annual income of generalist dentists across the province. These dentists ear about $180,000 per year.
Imposing a special law to maintain the services
Barrette revealed that he would sign a ministerial order to impose a special law to ensure that the services will be maintained and he later made the news official during a conference.
“It will not be possible for the dentists to unilaterally withdraw from the public system,” he said.
“I cannot accept, as a member of this government, that (patients covered by the public system) be held hostage based on negotiations, when the negotiations can easily be done without that,” he continued.
Langlois called Barrette’s tactic, “bullying.”
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