With a new name, a group aiming to equalize health services in the Lower Laurentians with the rest of the province met on January 11 to plan actions for the next few months. The group is Equity for Health in the Lower Laurentians (EHLL).

This group was formed with the aim of increasing the money spent on healthcare in our region to the provincial level because the amount of money spent on patients in our area is $1000 per year and in the rest of the province it is $2000 per year.

We have been underfunded for decades, our services have never been adequately developed, and 60 percent of our citizens must go out of the region for care, going to Montreal in particular. However, Montreal hospitals are now less and less accepting of new patients from outside.

Since holding its first public conference, the EHLL has contacted area politicians and sent a letter outlining its concerns and a request for redress to Health Minister Gaétan Barette. Federal MP Laurin Liu has brought the matter up in the House of Commons and MNA Benoit Charette has sent a letter to EHLL saying that the issue is a priority for him and other MNAs for the region.

At the January 11 meeting, the group fleshed out further actions to draw attention to the issue. They include publicity campaigns on radio, television, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and print media as well as a petition to the Quebec National Assembly, a letter writing campaign and other means. A public event is planned for late spring. Stay tuned for details.

A priority is to create a greater awareness of the serious problem of our region’s health services deficit. This is not a language issue, nor an issue requiring new spending on the part of the Quebec government. It is a health issue that requires the Government to redirect its spending in a fairer manner. A second priority is to involve all the communities roughly from St. Placide in the west to Bois-des-Filion in the east and Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines to the north. This area’s population is one of the fastest growing in the province, putting an additional strain on its health services resources.

Originally called Mobilisation: Citizens Deux-Montagnes, the name was changed to reflect the fact that this is a Lower Laurentians problem and cuts across language lines.

For more information, please see the group’s website equitesantebasseslaurentides.org . You can also contact EHLL via email at equitesantebasseslaurentides@gmail.com