From November 9 to 15, 2021, National Health and Social Services Users' Rights Week will take place throughout Quebec. The 2021 edition marks the 30th anniversary of the inclusion of users' rights in the Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services. "Quebec has been visionary in granting twelve rights to users and in encouraging establishments to set up a users' committee or a residents' committee in each of their facilities to voice their concerns and contribute to the improvement of care and services," says Lucio D'Intino, President of the Users' Committee of the CIUSSS West Central Montreal.
The CIUSSS has thirteen users' and residents' committees. Their role is to inform and support users in the various steps taken to remedy a dissatisfaction or to file a complaint. The committee communicates with program managers or clinical coordinators, the CIUSSS directorates, the Service Quality and Complaints Commissioner or any other competent authority. Last year, the committees assisted 255 users and responded to more than 450 requests.
From the moment the coronavirus became a threat, the committees have relentlessly brought the concerns of users and their families to the attention of the establishment's directorates. Commitment, availability, listening and acting are the strengths that these committees bring to bear to the needs of users and their relatives. The committees also carry out actions to advocate for the collective rights of users. This year, they presented two briefs to the Quebec government, one on mandatory vaccination in public and private health services network and the other on the law on mistreatment to make it more inclusive of people in vulnerable situations. “The members of these committees are the unsung heroes of the pandemic. They deserve recognition from the establishment, especially since their work is done voluntarily," says Lucio D'Intino.