COVID-19: Quebec may have to miss many doctors deemed too old

Many doctors may have to give up their practice to comply with the new COVID-19 prevention measures based on age, decreed by the Legault government.
If older physicians submit to government directives, Quebec may have to deprive many of them in the short term, when it needs it most.

Quebec currently has 1,495 physicians still active, despite the fact that they are 70 years of age or older.

However, to limit the spread of the virus, which risks attacking the elderly as a priority, Prime Minister François Legault asked all Quebecers aged 70 and over to stay cloistered at home for the next few weeks on Saturday.

The College of Physicians maintains an up-to-date register of all those who practice medicine in Quebec.

By age group, the most recent data indicates that 942 doctors are between 70 and 74 years old.

In the group of doctors aged 75 to 79, there are 380, while there are 169 octogenarians, or 134 among 80-84 year olds and 35 among 85-89 year olds.

Even more astonishing, Quebec can boast of being able to count on four doctors who are still active after having passed the milestone of 90 years.

The question could also arise with regard to nurses.

To meet a growing demand for hospital staff, in the event of a possible increase in the number of people infected with the virus, the government has announced that it wants to encourage retired nurses to return to duty.

But if they are 70 years old, should they stay at home to comply with the isolation order, or rather devote themselves and respond to the government’s call to help stem the health crisis?

Since Saturday, Quebec is in a state of health emergency, which allows the Minister of Health, Danielle McCann, to recall retired nurses quickly, avoiding the usual administrative procedures.

Sunday afternoon, after his daily press briefing, Prime Minister Legault must meet with several union leaders from the health network (CSQ, FIQ, Alliance of Professional and Technical Staff in Health and Social Services, Fonds de Solidarité FTQ et CSN), as well as with the president of the Federation of Medical Specialists of Quebec, Diane Francoeur, and the president of the Federation of General Practitioners of Quebec, Dr. Louis Godin.

The Ministers of Education, Jean-François Roberge, and of the Family, Mathieu Lacombe, will also take stock of the impact of the government measures announced in their respective fields.

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