CISSS de Laval reports a 74 per cent rise in medical complaints since last year

Regional health authority steps up recruiting, while dealing with pandemic

The CISSS de Laval underwent a 74 per cent increase in medical complaints since last year, a report submitted to the regional health authority revealed during the CISSS’s annual public information meeting on Nov. 19.

Medical complaints

The CISSS de Laval includes the region’s main hospital, Cité de la Santé, and many other health and social service institutions, including retirement residences, CHLSDs and medical clinics. The meeting was overseen by Yves Carignan, chair of the board of the CISSS de Laval, and Chantal Friset, acting CEO of the CISSS.

‘The COVID-19 pandemic will have certainly upset several planned timelines for our projects,’ said CISSS de Laval president Yves Carignan

According to the complaints report written by Hélène Bousquet, the commissioner for complaints and quality of service at the CISSS, and tabled during an open public webcast of the meeting, there were 93 complaints of a medical nature during the CISSS’s 2019-2020 reporting year, compared to 53 such complaints in 2018-2019, representing a drop of 31 per cent last year.

More specialists needed

“Faced with the increased number of complaints and their complexity, in 2019 we recruited more examining physicians with a variety of specializations,” Bousquet wrote, noting that the new recruits included critical care and psychiatric specialists.

CISSS de Laval board president Yves Carignan said the regional health authority is doing its best during the COVID-19 pandemic by putting the knowledge gained from the experience to good use.

She said that in keeping with a directive from the Quebec College of Physicians, the processing of non-urgent complaints was suspended at the height of the COVID-19 crisis for around eight weeks, but resumed in mid-May.

A drop since March

“Since mid-March 2020, we note an important reduction in the number of medical complaints (probably because of the reduction of services, increased availability of doctors, and maybe more tolerance on the part of patients). It is too early at this stage to predict what direction this will go in. For now, we feel that the size of the team is adequate.”

According to her report, the goals for 2020-2021 remain better coordination in processing complaints, improved communication/synchronization for the types of complaints (medical and hospital), and the issuance (when deemed appropriate) of recommendations to improve the overall quality of health services at the CISSS.

Impact of COVID-19

In a report on the CISSS de Laval’s overall performance in the past year, governing board president Yves Carignan noted that the first report of a COVID-19 infection in Laval was made last March 18. “The COVID-19 pandemic will have certainly upset several planned timelines for our projects,” he said in his summary.

“All the same, we are opting to hold onto the learning opportunities being offered by the situation. We thank with all our hearts our teams who allowed the organization to remain as dynamic and resilient in this context,” Carignan continued, while noting elsewhere in his report that the CISSS de Laval continues to face significant shortages of qualified personnel and that recruiting has become a challenge.

CISSS’s end-of-life policies

During the meeting, the following information was also presented: Highlights of CISSS de Laval’s 2019-2020 activities; the financial report as of March 31, 2020; and the 2019-2020 activity report of the CISSS de Laval users’ committee.

In a section dealing with the CISSS’s end-of-life care policies, it was reported that 2,075 people approaching death received palliative care during the 2019-2020 period. Of these, 158 patients applied for medically-assisted termination of life. Eighty-nine of these requests were granted. However, 69 were not granted, for reasons that included failure to meet at least one criteria (20), death during the request processing period (16), the patient changed his or her mind (10), and loss of mental capacity or ability during the evaluation period.