Instead of accepting a pay raise for themselves, over 250 Québec doctors have asked the provincial government to give the pay raise to overworked nurses and clerks.

Following a newly-proposed medical budget that would award a salary hike for Québec doctors, a representational group of physicians and medical students wrote an open letter in which they insisted that their fellow health care workers deserved better wages and working conditions.

“We, Québec doctors who believe in a strong public system, oppose the recent salary increases negotiated by our medical federations.

“These increases are all the more shocking because our nurses, clerks, and other professionals face very difficult working conditions, while our patients live with the lack of access to required services because of the drastic cuts in recent years and the centralization of power in the Ministry of Health. The only thing that seems to be immune to the cuts is our salaries…

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“Contrary to the Prime Minister’s statements, we believe that there is a way to redistribute the resources of the Québec health system to promote the health of the population and meet the needs of patients without pushing workers to the end.

“We, Québec doctors, are asking that the salary increases granted to physicians be canceled and that the resources of the system be better distributed for the good of the health care workers and to provide health services worthy to the people of Québec.”

Currently, the average medical specialist within the Canadian province reportedly makes about $403,537 a year. According to the new budget, the medical association would hike up allocated funds for physician salaries from $4.7 billion to $5.4 billion in 2023.

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Québec’s health minister, Gaétan Barrette, said that he had no problem with the collective rejection of the pay raise. Earlier this week, he told media sources: “If they feel they are overpaid, they can leave the money on the table. I guarantee you I can make good use of it.”

Time will tell how the budget will be reshaped, but one thing is for sure – the doctors of Québec have made it clear that they are dedicated to taking care of more than just themselves.

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