“The government has been saying for weeks that healthcare professional-to-patient ratios and healthcare professionals’ excessive workloads are a priority but nothing in the new budget indicates that. Besides a vague statement on work organization in the health network, the Minister of Finance doesn’t even mention the distress suffered by nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists. And vagueness only breeds more ambiguity.” That was how Nancy Bédard, President of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec – FIQ, reacted today to the tabling of the 2018-2019 Budget by Finance Minister Carlos J. Leitão.
20 million dollars for SNPs
The FIQ would like to highlight the government’s commitment to investing 20 million dollars to hire more specialty nurse practitioners and improve access to front-line services. “It’s good news, but we know we have to remain vigilant. The money might be available but if nothing concrete is done to help SNPs exercise their full scope of practice, it won’t make a difference. If we look at past examples, we can see that there’s still a lot of resistance to changing how things are done,” continued Nancy Bédard.
The FIQ looks upon the increased health care spending with mixed feelings. “Of course we are happy that health care funding has finally been increased to an acceptable level. We can rejoice for patients and healthcare professionals that the years of austerity are over. Nonetheless, we cannot help but remember that these increases will never repair the damage caused over the last years. It’s hard not to notice that the government made incessant budget cuts for years only to create a new budget six months before the elections. It’s hard not to be cynical,” said Nancy Bédard.