Quebec and Canadian pediatric groups call for action for children’s health

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Leading child health organizations across Canada are calling on the federal and provincial governments to work together to address what they call a long-standing crisis.

In a joint statement Children’s Healthcare Canada, Canadian Association of Pediatric Nurses and Canadian Pediatric Society urged provincial governments to convene a first ministerial meeting to collaborate on a “restabilizing” plan.

The call for action from the three organizations followed an editorial sent to CTV News authored by the Quebec Pediatric Chairs that blamed the situation on “a confluence of factors.”

“Some were related to neglect of children’s needs, and some related to deliberate decisions to divert health resources away from children,” the editorial said.

Canada’s latest ranking Unicef ​​​​Report card on the well-being of children and young people is in 30 out of 38 countries.

The focus now, the group said, must be not only on today’s problems playing out in overcrowded pediatric emergency rooms across the country, but also on permanent solutions, since the problems predate the pandemic and adversely affect the course by decades. of children’s lives.

“There is such a shortage in the network of beds and pediatricians and health care providers outside of the university hospitals,” said Dr. Anne Monique Nuyt, head of paediatrics at Ste-Justine Hospital.

“That’s one thing that’s become fragile through the pandemic and over the years,” she said, adding that even hospitals lack professionals — for example, nurses, respiratory therapists and nutritionists.

“It requires really specialized specialist skills to take care of [children]…it’s a special job and I think our children deserve to be looked after by us. They are our future,” Nuyt said.

And assessments and treatments must be timely, said Nuyt’s counterpart at Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“Childhood is a critical window in everyone’s life. It’s a critical developmental time, and every time we delay essential health services, it has the potential to have a lifelong impact,” said Dr. Bethany Foster.


The lack of family doctors in certain parts of the province, especially in Montreal, has a greater impact on children who are 0-5 years old than people who are older than 15, Nuyt explained.

“These are critical years for growth development milestones,” she said, noting that Quebec’s health ministry’s recent plan to shift the care of healthy children to general practitioners from pediatricians will work if they get the regular checkups they need.

“For someone to know if a child’s health is normal, you have to see them, and regularly to make sure they stay normal. It’s kind of obvious,” the pediatrician said.

Access to primary care is among the most basic priorities listed by the pediatric organizations. The other priorities include:

  • develop a staffing strategy focusing on specialist skills and experience required to care for children and young people
  • build a health data strategy for children and young people
  • increase home care and pediatric respite support for children with complex medical conditions
  • increase capacity for early intervention and community-based mental health services – create a list of critical medications for children in Canada

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