Created in 1990, the Québec Physicians’ Health Program is a non-profit organization that offers members of the Québec medical community an independent assistance service modeled on the peer support approach.
The QPHP’s mission is to provide strictly confidential assistance to all physicians, residents and medical students who are facing a situation that can affect their psychological and overall health.
The QPHP’s services are provided by physician advisors who understand the challenges of medical practice. They are committed to supporting their struggling colleagues in finding solutions that will help them regain their health and return to a healthy practice. In addition to providing counselling services, the QPHP designs and implements psychological health prevention programs and contributes to research.
Healthy physicians for a sustainable medical practice that benefits everyone.
Being a physician carries a very high level of responsibility and performance expectations.
When faced with a difficult situation, physicians tend to hide their vulnerability and push beyond their limits to continue to meet the demands of their work.
A healthy and sustainable practice means physicians have to consider their capacities and take care of themselves so that they can keep delivering high-quality clinical services over the long term, for the benefit of all.
Maintaining the highest standards of confidentiality and discretion to protect our clients’ identity and personal information.
Acting with kindness and consideration, being open and non-judgmental about any situation, its consequences, and the emotions aroused. Impartiality.
Our actions are guided by the observance of our organizational values, dealing honestly and openly with our clients, colleagues, and partners.
Showing respect for each other’s skills and working in a collaborative and cooperative manner.
Enriching the way we do things by sharing innovative methods to promote physicians’ overall health.
In the 1970s, regulating the practice of medicine was based on a system in which disciplinary sanctions were seen as the only means of enforcing the rules of the profession.
At the time, Dr. André Lapierre, the future founder and first executive director of the Québec Physicians’ Health Program, was working as assistant secretary general of the Collège des Médecins du Québec.
Dr. Lapierre was a general practitioner with a degree in community health. He quickly realized that solving mental health issues effectively and sustainably required solutions other than punishment—it was time to treat physicians who were sick and help those who were struggling.
Motivated by this realization, he decided to help physicians himself. He would get them to agree to meet with him by inviting them to do so outside the walls of the Collège. He would then refer them to resources he knew to be appropriate and supported them in their recovery. His numerous and lasting successes were rooted in maintaining confidentiality and taking a caring and humane approach. He had already found ways to reduce physicians’ reluctance to seek help. The scientific literature would later confirm his observations.
Dr. Lapierre quietly introduced a new way forward, where disciplinary sanctions were not the only means of regulating the profession when health problems were a concern.
It was against this backdrop that, in February 1990, Dr. Lapierre, with the help of Dr. Claude Thibeault, then president of the Association des médecins de langue française du Canada, now called Médecins francophones du Canada, reached out to Dr. William Barakett of the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ), Dr. Jean-Marie Albert of the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ), and the Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec (FMRQ) to preside over the official founding of the QPHP.