Last Thursday, alongside the Health Minister, full of hope, I proudly announced the launch of the first healthcare professional-to-patient ratio pilot projects. Proud because it’s an enormous achievement that the FIQ has been working hard for for years. Proud of all the healthcare professionals who have broken the silence and spoken up over the last months. And full of hope because ratios are the most promising solution we have for ensuring patients receive safe, quality care and for providing nurses, licensed practical nurses and respiratory therapists with adequate, humane working conditions. The FIQ made ratios its PRIORITY, both for patients and healthcare professionals.
We went and saw what was being done abroad. We held a major symposium to discuss it. We quickly realized that if we want to be able to provide safe care in the future, ratios are the way to do it. It’s a project for the future of the Quebec health network.
We will implement 17 ratio pilot projects across Quebec. With this agreement comes the hope of putting an end to healthcare professionals’ excessive workload. It’s the most promising solution ever demanded by healthcare professionals across Quebec, and one that has proven effective in other countries.
The agreement doesn’t end with ratio projects, it marks the beginning of implementing safe ratios throughout the whole health network. I know that some people are still sceptical and that others feel it won’t resolve excessive workload issues in the short-term, and I agree. As regards the work overload and mandatory overtime, your FIQ unions are working very hard to negotiate an increase in part-time positions as a means to obtaining more full-time positions and ensuring and regaining care team stability in your institutions. As the FIQ President, I will fight with as much determination and passion as I have in the battle for ratios. The agreement on ratios is a major step forward. In several countries that managed to implement ratios, it took a lot longer to achieve what we’ve accomplished so far. We are making fast progress. You should be proud and trust that we will succeed.
That said, we aren’t naive. We know more obstacles lie ahead and that is why we aren’t letting up. To do this, we will need your help and your mobilization. But what we have achieved this far is no small feat. It’s an official government commitment to implementing ratios throughout the network. It’s not a letter of intention. It’s real progress. And we are advancing fast.
We will follow these projects every step of the way and evaluate the positive impacts of ratios on the staff, care and patients. Our goal remains the same: to cement ratios in legislation. Some will make cynical remarks and complain that we aren’t going fast enough, so let me remind everyone that there’s no such thing as magical thinking. While others waste time criticizing, we are taking action. The FIQ is the only organization that has done serious work to make ratios happen. To criticize this work is to criticize healthcare professionals’ will to find a way to provide safe, quality care without sacrificing their lives.