A number of medical specialists have stepped up to the plate following calls from Quebec Premier François Legault for help to staff the province’s troubled network of long-term care homes (CHSLDs) as they battle the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Among them is Dr. Gaétan Barrette, who served as health minister from 2014 to 2018 under the previous Liberal government.
Barrette, who worked as a radiologist before entering provincial politics, told Global News Morning he felt a duty to help out.
“Look, this is a big call, and I answered the call,” he told Global’s Laura Casella.
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On Friday, he started work as an orderly, a job Barrette said he has actually done before.
“The role of orderly, I did that many many years ago, in my youngest years, when I was a teenager and a young adult,” he explained, adding that the skills the role requires are “not something that’s really changed a lot over the years.”
Barrette, who is 63, would be at an increased risk of complications if he were to contract COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, as a front-line worker. But he said that so long as he and other medical professionals stepping into the CHSLD network are provided with proper personal protective equipment (PPE), he isn’t too concerned.
“My age, the way I am, it’s a bit risky, but if I have the proper PPE, I think I’m going to be fine,” he said. “And that’s the reason why I’m quite confident I won’t catch it — I hope, but we’ll see.”
The La Pinière MNA said that despite him once being in charge of Quebec’s entire health-care network, he has made clear to his new boss he’s just another member of the team.
“I’m there as one of the others, and I’ll do whatever is asked of me,” he said. “And they’re happy with that, obviously.”
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