Bringing you the issues since 1986

View Online Print Edition


CSSS Cavendish provides increased access to medical care

April, 2011

The lack of access to regular medical care is an urgent concern for many Montrealers, especially as they age or suffer from chronic illnesses.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, in 2006 more than 2 million, or 25 per cent, of Quebecers lacked a family doctor, compared with 14 per cent in the rest of Canada. In Montreal, 32.4 per cent of the population had no primary care physician, compared with only 9.4 per cent in Toronto. But for residents of N.D.G., Montreal West, Côte St. Luc, Hampstead and Snowdon, there should be some improvement, as the CSSS Cavendish has moved its medical clinic and test centre to the ground floor of the Cavendish Mall.

Executive director Francine Dupuis says the expansion of the clinic, which had been on the fourth floor, is a dream come true.

“We wanted this a long time ago,” Dupuis said. “Having a clinic on the bottom floor means visibility. People didn’t see the clinic, and some didn’t even know it existed. Lots of people go to the mall all the time but don’t know what services we have in the tower. We will be seen, and for seniors it will be easier not to have to take the elevator. Parking is free, it’s just at the doorstep.”

The clinic will have professionals in complementary fields able to offer co-ordinated services, Dupuis says. “The clinic has access to beautiful state-of-the-art equipment and features a team of multi-disciplinary professionals physically able to closely work with one another. We will have a larger test centre, and depending where the doctor wants samples to be sent, we will send to the lab and the lab will send the results to the doctor. We have an agreement with Mount Sinai, we can send our X-rays over there and if it’s an emergency request we will have the results within one hour.”

The clinic has connections with Maimonides and the Jewish General and St. Mary’s hospitals. As well, a chronic- care clinic that will follow patients with diabetes and chronic pulmonary disease is planned. All services, including medical tests, are free.

Dupuis emphasizes the importance of general practitioners. “Our philosophy is that you have to have a family doctor who knows you and sees you when you need to be seen. It’s much more difficult to be a family doctor than a specialist—you have to diagnose, follow patients, be knowledgeable about all diseases. You’re a social worker, a psychologist. People think specialists are much better than generalists, which is not the case.”

There are eight doctors at the clinic working part time, taking new patients when there is an opening. New callers are placed on a waiting list. “One hidden advantage of the clinic is that we want to attract more doctors,” Dupuis says. “We know there are many doctors in the community who work far away and we believe they will be attracted to work closer to where they live when they see the clinic. We’re counting on doctors who are closer to retirement and would like to decrease the number of days and administrative responsibilities they have.”

According to the journal Canadian Family Physician, patients with family doctors have higher survival rates, need to be hospitalized less often, are prescribed less medication and are less expensive to treat in the doctor’s office than in the emergency room, which costs five to 10 times more.

“We want people to receive services outside the hospital,” Dupuis says. “A hospital should be the end of the line, it’s a very costly service, there are too many people crowded in a room spreading infection and very often the patient doesn’t need that technical level. Many services can be very well provided in a physician’s office.”

For more information or to make an appointment, call 514-484-7878.



Post a Comment