The FIQ-Syndicat des professionnelles en soins des Cantons-de-l’Est (FIQ-SPSCE) held a press conference today to denounce the abusive use of overtime and mandatory overtime throughout the CIUSSS Estrie – CHUS, but especially in the maternity and neonatology department at the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS. Despite having held several meetings with FIQ-SPSCE representatives and the employer party since April, the situation has not improved. Healthcare professionals still have to cope with a lot of overtime, and mandatory overtime in particular.
“Demands were made to the employer for structural staff recruitment and retention measures. Urgent action is required. The employer showed a willingness to consider them but has delayed making decisions and taking action thus far,” said Sophie Séguin, President of the FIQ-SPSCE executive committee.
Meanwhile, overtime and mandatory overtime rates have reached critical levels in over 50 of the CIUSSS’s centres of activities, nearing, at times, 10% of the hours worked. The employer remains indifferent to healthcare professionals as they denounce the employer’s ongoing use of these management methods since April. The situation is even more alarming in the maternity and neonatology departments where the effects are felt first-hand by newborns and their families.
“Our members are enduring great physical and psychological distress and their anger is rising. They live in constant fear of being forced to do mandatory overtime. They know when they start work but never when they will finish. For years now, they have had to put aside their personal and family life to compensate for poor management and staffing,” explained Sophie Séguin. “Patients are also paying the price for it. Our members are exhausted and scared of making mistakes, which could jeopardize their practice license.”
The FIQ-SPSCE is demanding that the employer, among other things, immediately stabilize healthcare professional jobs and work schedules and recognize their expertise in their practice and not assign them tasks that could be done by employees with other job titles.
Moreover, the union demanded that the employer grant incentive measures to healthcare professionals who would like to give their availability to units that are suffering and where mandatory overtime is a daily occurrence, but the employer turned a deaf ear. Outcome: mandatory overtime is a constant and healthcare professionals are exhausted.
Lastly, the FIQ-SPSCE asked the employer to offer incentives to healthcare professionals who would like to use their availability in units where mandatory overtime is imposed. Once again, the employer remains silent.
For the FIQ, implementing safe healthcare professional-to-patient ratios is the optimal solution to reduce the workload and eliminate mandatory overtime. “Healthcare professionals have too many patients in their care,” said Cynthia Pothier, Vice-President of the FIQ. “They are worn out, overworked and have reached their limit. Poor management jeopardizes the quality of patient care. What’s needed are more healthcare professionals to care for patients!”