“We’re not surprised because we have been dealing with and denouncing the impact of the underfunding in Outaoauis for years now. While we see what’s happening first hand in the field, the IRIS study released some shocking, sickening figures, and all we want to do is provide quality care to the public,” said Lyne Plante, president of the Syndicat des professionnelles en soins de l’Outaouais (SPSO).
On August 8, the Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS) published a report on the effects of delayed public funding in health care and post-secondary education in Outaouais. Requested by the coalition Équité Outaouais, the study found that there has been $250 million of underfunding annually and that the number of nurses per 1,000 inhabitants is well under the provincial average (5.7 vs. 8.4 for Québec). If we take into account the 20% population increase over the last 15 years, the bleak picture backs the harsh reality denounced by healthcare professionals.
It is the public’s needs that should determine health care funding but that is clearly not the case in Outaouais. “There is a lot of catching up to do in terms of infrastructure and staffing in order to lift the constant excessive workload burdening healthcare professionals so that they can work in safe conditions,” added Lyne Plante.
“While healthcare professionals had reached their quota all across Quebec, there was strong mobilization in the region,” explained Shirley Dorismond, Vice-President at the FIQ and Political Officer for the Outaouais region. This study and its findings provide yet another opportunity to hear healthcare professionals and to turn to solutions.” Whether it be through implementing safe ratios, neighbourhood clinics, better family-work-study balance measures or true independence for specialty nurse practitioners, we need to move fast to attract and retain more healthcare professionals.