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The growing phenomenon of private clinics in Quebec

The growing phenomenon of private clinics in Quebec

While many patients are desperately searching for a family doctor, the phenomenon of private clinics with nurses is gaining momentum in Quebec.

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Clinique Santé 360 was created five years ago in L’Assomption and is made up of nurses only. Doctors come there only a few days a week, depending on the needs of the nurses.

Claire Debray, coordinator of Clinique Santé 360, explains: “There are many clients who come into the clinic who have a family doctor, but cannot reach them. Our aim was to launch a new model and show that nurses can come to support doctors more than they are allowed to do to the public.

There are specialist nurse practitioners, clinical nurses, nurse technicians and operating nurses on site.

“I had pneumonia a month ago and it didn’t go away,” explains Natalie Joanette, a patient at the clinic. “So we decided to come to the private clinic instead of going and waiting at 9 p.m. in the emergency room.”

Since Quebec advocates for free health services, many question the need for these private clinics and worry about increasing them.

“Currently, these clinics do not have an agreement with RAMQ,” explains Luc Mathieu, president of the Quebec Nurses Union. “Patients who go to see these nurses have to pay out of pocket and that’s a problem, because it goes against the principle of universality of care.”

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The Ministry of Health does not have statistics on the number of such clinics in Quebec.