June 14, 2012
The Ordre des dentistes du Québec finds it unacceptable that during the detailed study of Bill 59, section 66 was adopted without including dentists among the providers authorized to access the Quebec Health Record, the databank on Quebecers' health information.
Section 66 provides that physicians, pharmacists, nurses and midwives, among others, will have access to the Quebec Health Record - while dentists, who are authorized to prescribe medications and carry out many different dental acts, will not.
Since the Quebec Health Record was created to provide better care and to help health professionals co-ordinate their efforts in treating patients, the reasons for this flagrant exclusion are unclear.
"The Minister of Health and Social Services is taking an arrogant attitude toward dentists by refusing to include them in this Bill and not considering them as front-line medical providers, even though they diagnose and treat serious illnesses, in addition to being involved in major emergency care in hospitals. Moreover, the Order has been collaborating with the Minister for five years now, to ensure that dentists would be part of this initiative," stated Dr. Barry Dolman, President of the Ordre des dentistes du Québec.
On May 9, the Ordre des dentistes filed a brief with the Committee on Health and Social Services, which is in charge of the parliamentary proceedings. In its brief, the Order noted that the oral procedures performed by dentists are far from simple.
Before performing any procedure, dentists must establish a diagnosis and prepare a treatment plan taking account of many factors, including the patient's general health, warning signs of certain illnesses and the condition of the patient's bones, gums and teeth. They must also be informed of all the medications taken by the patient, since some of them can delay healing, provoke hemorrhaging (like Coumadin, an anticoagulant) or prevent bone resorption, like the bisphosphonates used in treating certain cancers and in preventing osteoporosis. Dentists prescribe medications, operate on patients under sedation and diagnose many serious diseases, including oral cancer.
"Nearly 5,000 health professionals offering front-line services to patients every day will not be able to benefit from this initiative, although it is intended to facilitate and improve health care for Quebecers," noted Dr. Dolman. "This lack of judgment is an insult to our profession and creates two categories of health professionals: those the Minister considers important and those he chooses to ignore, like doctors in dental medicine."
About the Ordre des dentistes du Québec
The Ordre des dentistes du Québec represents over 4,800 dentists. Its mission is to ensure the quality of dental services by maintaining high professional and ethical standards, and to promote oral health among Quebecers. Information: www.odq.qc.ca.
For more information :
Ordre des dentistes du Québec (ODQ)
625 boulevard René-Lévesque West, 15th Floor
Canada, H3B 1R2