Showing their frustration with the government who is slow in bringing the negotiation of their working conditions to a positive conclusion, the healthcare professionals of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ and FIQ | Secteur privé are settling in outside the offices of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS). Decorating the building with different messages, they have set up outside and could spend a few hours a day there for several days if that is necessary. “Like the sit-ins that the healthcare professionals have to do regularly to be heard by their managers, we are taking our place here to tell the government that they have to give incentives for the healthcare professionals to be interested in holding a full-time position. Obviously, they have not understood the reasons why healthcare professionals, in large numbers, choose to work part time. If some progress has been made on the healthcare professional-to-patient ratios, especially in CHSLDs, and on the number of full-time positions, it will be impossible to see any improvement in the network if real measures to make full time attractive are not in place. These three major issues are intimately related to each other and must be considered as inseparable. Healthcare professionals are demanding to be respected, valued and recognized for their work. Time is running out and the government must conclude an agreement with us, as there is likely to be major disruptions across Québec”, said Nancy Bédard, President of the FIQ.
The other pandemic: that of “acute exasperation”
This new demonstration of mobilization by healthcare professionals also sets the table for the FIQ’s new advertising campaign that begins on the radio tomorrow, November 23, throughout Québec and which will illustrate the nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists exasperation. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has been hitting Québec for months, another pandemic, called “acute exasperation”, is decimating the healthcare professionals”. Even if this isn’t new, the consequences are increasingly serious and disastrous for both them and their patients. Faced with their rights being constantly trampled, this exasperation is gaining more and more ground with the members we represent. The government has a duty to fix it giving them working conditions worthy of the exceptional work they do”, explained Roberto Bomba, Treasurer and joint officer for the negotiations.
The issue of full time
For the Federation, this landing in front of the MSSS offices is inevitable as the government turns a deaf ear to the issue of making full-time positions more attractive. How to attract the next generation and have more professionals wanting to hold a full-time position? It is clearly not by forcing them to work full time if the government wants to succeed. “First, they must be guaranteed a position on a stable and complete work team, on both the shift and centre of activities, with an adequate ratio of patients, that they can know their schedule in advance, have time off and a higher income, and obviously that they are no longer taken hostage by MOT. This is the message again that the nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists want to repeat to the government with this symbolic sit-in. They have a duty to listen to them and correct the situation”, continued Jérôme Rousseau, Vice-President and joint officer for the negotiations.
For more than a year, the Federation has presented these solutions to the government and explained that it will take concrete changes. “We continued to do so in the midst of the pandemic because it is obvious that the healthcare system is failing and the patients and healthcare professionals deserve better, a lot better! After so many trying months, it’s time to settle. The health network is so weakened that we can’t wait any longer”, concluded Ms. Bédard.