In parallel with the Ordre professionnel des inhalothérapeutes du Québec’s (OPIQ) annual convention, healthcare professionals demonstrated briefly to ask the professional order to take a clear position on the debate on eliminating mandatory overtime (MOT). “Professional orders have a mission to protect the public and the OPIQ is no exception. Using MOT as a management method not only infringes on healthcare professionals’ rights, it also directly impacts care quality and safety. We would like the Order to more aggressively denounce the excessive use of MOT and the employers who use the code of ethics to mask their poor work organization,” said Linda Lapointe, FIQ Vice-President who is a respiratory therapist.
The Federation believes the fight to eliminate overtime must be a collective effort. “Every day healthcare professionals witness firsthand the harmful and disastrous impacts of this scourge on the health network. The professional orders can no longer remain silent as employers in the network spout convoluted arguments to justify MOT; we want the OPIQ to take a strong position. All voices need to speak up against this unacceptable excuse for a management method. The health and safety of healthcare professionals and their patients depend on it,” added Ms. Lapointe.
Professionals put to the test
Just like their nurse, licensed practical nurse and clinical perfusionist colleagues, respiratory therapists are now being put to the test in the health network. “Recruitment and retention problems are a direct result of poor working and practice conditions. Respiratory therapists in Quebec have to contend with an excessive workload and regular mandatory overtime. And even when it’s not mandatory overtime strictly speaking, they are requiring that an excessive number of staff be on-call and as such, literally holding these healthcare professionals hostage. It is impossible for them to take days off or balance their personal, family and professional lives,” explained the union spokesperson.
The Federation believes it is high time that the network recognize the expertise and fundamental role of respiratory therapists. “They are essential professionals in several environments, including the operating room, emergency room, intensive care and home care. It is extremely urgent that we recognize their important contribution to dispensing care and services by providing an attractive work environment,” concluded the Vice-President.