Rivière-du-Loup, June 12, 2019 – Hundreds of healthcare professionals from across Québec met today at noon in front of the Centre hospitalier régional Grand-Portage de Rivière-du-Loup to denounce the region’s respiratory therapists’ difficult working conditions and support those working at Kamouraska in particular. “When a respiratory therapist resigns because she cannot endure the schedule any longer and every ambulance transfer leaves patients exposed, the situation is not only worrisome, it is dramatic”, stated the president of the FIQ – Syndicat des professionnelles en soins infirmiers et cardiorespiratoires du Bas-Saint-Laurent, Cindie Soucy.
The regional union spokesperson believes that the work pace demanded of the respiratory therapists is downright insane. “The respiratory therapists at Kamouraska are always on call. They cannot go further than 30 minutes from their workplace, must always book babysitters for their children in case they have to go to work. It’s impossible for them to take a day off, balance their family and professional life,” continued Ms. Soucy.
A unique expertise
As with the province’s healthcare professionals, the respiratory therapists in the region are victims of attraction and retention problems caused by poor working and practice conditions and the employer’s lack of action. “The media often talks about the licensed practical nurses, but says very little about respiratory therapists. However, they have a unique expertise and play a key role on the care teams. Respiratory therapists are needed in several environments, such as the operating room, emergency, intensive care, but also in CLSCs and CHSLDs. The excessive workload at Kamouraska is the burden of all respiratory therapists who work in the regions, everywhere in Québec. It is absolutely essential that the employer acknowledge their work and give them an interesting work environment,” demanded the president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ, Nancy Bédard.
Recess is over
For Linda Lapointe, herself a respiratory therapist and vice-president of the FIQ, the situation at Kamouraska cannot go on any longer. “The respiratory therapists who work there are in distress and the quality and safety of care are compromised. This fact does not seem to bother the employer who continues to give them feeble working conditions and uses overtime to excess. Today’s demonstration follows a series of union actions and marks the end of recess for this employer who has refused for far too long to tackle the problems head on. The employer must quickly implement solutions for both the respiratory therapists and patients’ benefit,” concluded Ms. Lapointe.