Recent publications about the health and social services network have peeked people’s interests and caused serious concerns. Some of them describe the record-breaking absenteeism among the personnel, highlighting mental health issues as the main cause. Others, such as the Report on incidents and accidents occurred while delivering health care and services in Quebec, reveal that the number of incidents resulting in death after a fall or a medication or treatment error has increased by 15% between 2014-2015 and the previous year and that the under-reporting of these incidents remains a problem.
These are but a few of the symptoms of the increasing complications of the healthcare network. The more troubling issue is that the current reorganization will not help improve things at all. The upheaval caused by this restructuring leaves us with a sense of foreboding that the deterioration will continue in the upcoming years.
If workers of the health sector are increasingly absent, if healthcare professionals are not replaced due to lack of personnel or budget, if they are relocated from one site to another, if their expertise remains unused, if their workload continues to increase, if forced overtime escalates even more and the need for care becomes even more critical… How can we hope that the situation will improve? How could we think that the quality and safety of care would not be compromised and that the physical and psychological health of healthcare professionals would not be constantly threatened?
However, despite this worrisome picture, there are thankfully some solutions that are accessible to healthcare professionals. First of all, when employers respect and apply the provisions stipulated in the Act respecting occupational health and safety (AROHS), this is a first step towards healing the health network and those who practice their profession within it. Such institutions would have an organization of work in place that does not have adverse effects on their health, adequate information on the risks they can be exposed to, a healthy work environment and safe equipment, or provided with the appropriate training, assistance or supervision to ensure that they can safely perform their tasks and functions without endangering themselves (AROHS, sec. 51).
The FIQ also proposes many solutions, including the implementation of healthcare professional-to-patient ratios. Among the gains obtained during the previous negotiations, it is important to note that a working committee will be responsible for organizing pilot projects on this aspect. These ratios, on top of having a direct effect on workload and safety of care, would contribute to greater stability among care teams and would help foster a greater feeling of belonging. They would help increase the value and recognition of healthcare professionals’ expertise.
In conclusion, there are many tools at our disposal, and we are far overdue to use them to take care of our healthcare network, which is in dire need of them!
Do you know ?
In 2002, Quebec was the first province to make the declaration of incidents and accidents that occur while delivering health care and services mandatory.
481,000 incidents were declared from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, ranging from minor incidents to accidents that resulted in death. They mostly occurred in residential and long-term care centres as well as hospital centres.
The FIQ union team wants to support healthcare professionals in their steps taken with the employer, for example to act upon a workload complaint by holding a committee on care.