The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec – FIQ launches We’ve Reached Our Quota: The purpose of The Black Book of Care Safety is to speak out against the critical condition of care safety in Quebec and to demand healthcare professional-to-patient ratios. It also asks patients, their loved ones and citizens to add their voice to the struggle by sharing their experiences and observations of the health network.
A dark but realistic portrayal
The Black Book is based on numerous reports and studies, conclusive international examples, a population survey and the experiences of FIQ members. It is the hard truth: care quality and safety is at risk in Quebec. The excessive workload, fatigue and distress results in care omissions, errors and adverse events, making it extremely difficult to deliver quality, humane care.
- 80% of Quebeckers said they got the impression that healthcare professionals are overloaded in Quebec.
- 1,326: It’s the number of incidents and accidents in healthcare settings in Quebec every day.
- In less than a year, FIQ healthcare professionals filled out 2,000 forms reporting situations where their conditions of practice prevented them from providing safe care to their patients.
Safe ratios: a question of health, safety and humanity
The FIQ remains true to its proposal-oriented unionism and has concrete solutions to improve the health network. The safe ratios that the FIQ is proposing would mean implementing a minimum required number of healthcare professionals at all times for a group of patients with similar health conditions. This minimum can be increased based on patients’ needs. Safe ratios allow healthcare professionals to save lives, optimize healing, prevent adverse events and respect patients’ dignity at no extra cost to the healthcare system.
Other activity sectors already have set ratios, including in education, air travel and daycares and early childhood education, but not in health care for healthcare professionals. “Half of Quebeckers believe that their healthcare system already has safe ratios, when it’s not the case. When you see the major benefits that safe ratios bring, both for healthcare professionals and the patients, it makes you wonder why they aren’t already in place in Quebec and what the government is waiting for to implement them!,” declared Nancy Bédard, President of the FIQ.
The FIQ intends to tour the province, using The Black Book of Care Safety to alert the Quebec population on this issue, distributing the publication as widely as possible. With more than 100,000 copies available in print, there is also an online version at fiqsante.qc.ca where citizens can share their stories and observations. Quebec MNAs will soon be receiving their own copies.
Meanwhile, in the Quebec government
The FIQ made a significant gain in 2015 regarding ratios: the government committed to starting safe ratio pilot projects. While work may be underway, the project sites still haven’t been announced and it doesn’t seem to be a priority for the MSSS.
“We have the sneaking suspicion that Minister Barrette will attempt yet again to downplay the situation by saying the work is underway and accusing us of being overly negative. What is really harming the health network are his policies and his complete denial of reality. It’s as though he doesn’t grasp the dire need for action or how critical the situation is. That is why we are asking patients, caregivers and citizens to share their experiences about staff shortages and work overloads in the network,” concluded the FIQ President.