Children first - Talking points on complementarity


The Montreal Children's Hospital supports complementarity. In fact, we already have a number of shared programs and services with Ste-Justine's and we are continuing to develop more.

Over the past months, the issue of complementarity has been at the forefront of the MUHC's discussions with the Government of Quebec. A preliminary proposal was recently tabled on pediatric complementarity, which we think is outrageous. This proposal would harm the quality and accessibility of pediatric care. With that in mind, we have prepared the following talking points outlining the principles that are guiding our approach to these discussions. We encourage you to share these messages with friends, family and opinion leaders.

MCH: Our Mandate

An important part of McGill and the MUHC, the Montreal Children's Hospital is a centre of excellence that is internationally recognized for its high quality of pediatric care, teaching and research. Our commitment is to build on this strength and to remain a full service university teaching hospital. On this we will not compromise.

The Montreal Children's Hospital needs to remain a full service pediatric health centre to fulfill its role within the McGill RUIS and provide specialized care to 23% of Quebecers who live in areas that cover 63% of the province's land mass, and to ensure that McGill has the capacity to train the next generation of health care professionals and develop the treatments and medications of tomorrow.

A full service pediatric teaching hospital is essential to retaining and attracting top professional talent to McGill and Montreal, thus enhancing our city's reputation as a leading health centre in North America.

The existence of two separate research centres is good for the city and for children's health innovations for obvious reasons: there is more research being done, and competition has tangible benefits. As well, because of its connection to an adult facility, the Montreal Children's Hospital offers unique research opportunities since it allows researchers and clinicians to follow patients with chronic problems throughout their lives. The fruitful relationships that exist between the Montreal Children's Hospital pediatric researchers and their colleagues in adult medicine and life sciences have taken years, if not generations, to build — we cannot afford to put this at risk.

The medical faculty is undeniably one of McGill's most important assets, in fact it was just named the top medical school in Canada by Maclean's magazine. The Faculty of Medicine must have a full service tertiary institution to fulfill its teaching mandate.


Complementarity is not a new concept. For years, the Montreal Children's Hospital and Ste-Justine have been working together on a number of initiatives and are committed to further exploring avenues of collaboration in order to enhance patient care.

The Montreal Children's Hospital wants the Government of Quebec to withdraw its complementarity proposal. Bureaucrats have no business deciding how health care should be divided up. The data in the government proposal contains inaccuracies and some assumptions we believe are flawed.

We are asking the government to give us more time to allow the health care professionals at the Children's and Ste-Justine to sit down and work out the many ways we can make complementarity work without jeopardizing the health and well being of the children of Quebec and without needlessly weakening two great pediatric facilities.

We also want the government once and for all to recognize the excellent care provided by the dedicated staff of this hospital to the families of Quebec. The Children's plays an extremely important role in the delivery of health care and training of the next generation of pediatricians. It is inappropriate for the ministry to characterize us an English-only institution. The Montreal Children's Hospital is a vibrant and innovative bilingual institution that cares for all children no matter what language they speak or where they live. For over 101 years we have been providing exceptional care and we want our contribution to this province fully recognized and appreciated. We are tired of being marginalized and find the government's characterization of this hospital is degrading.

Pediatric specialists are in high demand. Moving doctors from one hospital to another sounds easy in principle, but there is no guarantee our physicians will move. In fact, by creating so much uncertainty and upheaval many may choose to leave the province altogether. We can't afford to lose these individuals.

In our view, it is doubtful that complementarity will improve patient care or save money. We have repeatedly asked the government to show us studies or reports that prove complementarity will cut costs. To date we have not seen one shred of proof.

Complementarity should be patient driven and a bottom-up process led by those responsible for the delivery of care — doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, not bureaucrats. Health care professionals are on the front lines and are better placed to decide on shared programs and services because they know what is in the best interest of children.

Having only one fully operational trauma unit for pediatric care in a city the size of Montreal could prove disastrous if there were to be a major emergency in the city. Both trauma units are bursting at the seams. Moving trauma to one facility that is unable to provide complex neurosurgery and orthopedic services is a recipe for disaster and will be harmful to children.


Pediatric patients in Montreal and overall in Quebec are under-served. Both the Montreal Children's Hospital and Ste-Justine are currently operating at full capacity. Demand is high in comparison to other North American jurisdictions because of the absence of pediatric care facilities outside Montreal. Even within Montreal, parents find it difficult to find a pediatrician and often health care professionals at CLSCs don't have the skills or training to care for children.

The Montreal Children's Hospital is officially a bilingual and multicultural institution offering services in French, English and 41 other languages. Today, 40% of our patients are French speaking.

The Montreal Children's Hospital is a source of pride amongst Quebecers. Over the past 101 years it has been responsible for a number of medical breakthroughs on an international, national and provincial basis.

One of the principal reasons the Shriners has decided to stay in Montreal is the benefits of being integrated with a full service Montreal Children's Hospital, its neighbour on the soon to be built Glen Campus. This must not be put at risk by reducing the scope of the Montreal Children's Hospital or delaying the construction of our new facility.

See also:
Montreal Children's Fact Sheet
Significant Dates at the Montreal Children's Hospital