FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Ratios: The Health Minister needs to green light ratios throughout the network

Ratios: The Health Minister needs to green light ratios throughout the network

The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec – FIQ implores the Health Minster to implement safe-healthcare professional-to-patient ratios throughout the healthcare network. “The prevailing situation in Quebec’s emergency rooms clearly demonstrates that traditional management methods are no longer enough. While there is a broad consensus on the benefits of ratios, it is still unclear why the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) is not already prioritizing implementation in vulnerable sectors like emergency departments. We have been working on ratio projects with the MSSS for a few years now and collaborated on 16 conclusive projects. Health Minister Danielle McCann needs to speak up about ratios and summon the political courage to announce what will happen next with this promising solution in the health network,” said FIQ President Nancy Bédard.

The Federation believes that ratios are the final push needed to make staff available to reduce mandatory overtime (MOT) and ensure teams are fully staffed and stable, which in turn will directly impact the workload. That is why the FIQ would like the government to legislate to limit the number of patients that can be placed in the care of a healthcare professional or care team. “With the ratio projects, the staff offered broader availability because they were given safe working and practice conditions. This is how the government can attract healthcare professionals to the network, protect their health, and enable them to provide quality patient care. It won’t happen overnight, it will take time, but we don’t have any more time to waste before putting them in place,” emphasized Ms. Bédard.


The FIQ vice-president and political officer in charge of ratios agrees. “The Health Minister has repeatedly promised to improve conditions for healthcare professionals and to end MOT. Ratios are the most promising solution to do this. The 16 ratio projects have been completed and 13 local joint committees concluded that ratios are relevant and beneficial for both healthcare professionals and patients. Nearly all employers and unions at the local level agree and want to maintain the ratios; healthcare professionals say they finally have time to deliver all of the required patient care; families are relieved by the care their loved ones are receiving; other professionals in the unit are saying they have seen positive changes—what more will it take for the Health Minister to give the green light?,” asked the vice-president.

The Federation believes it is important to remind people that safe ratios have been implemented in other countries and yielded great results; they are supported by over 15 years of scientific literature. “Wherever safe ratios are implemented, they have been a catalyst for attracting and retaining healthcare professionals in the health network, for improving the quality and safety of patient care, and a way of increasing efficiency in the healthcare network,” explained the vice-president.

The Federation believes the Minister should take the next step and announce an implementation plan starting in 2020. The current problems in emergency departments and other deplorable events going on in other parts of the network, for example for seniors in CHSLDs, is proof enough that this wait-and-see attitude just doesn’t cut it—the situation calls for action. “Healthcare professionals truly need a spark of hope. The projects demonstrated that ratios are a way to guarantee safe, quality care and they make healthcare professionals want to work in the healthcare network. The Minister needs to get on board with it. She needs to remember that in addition to the healthcare professionals and managers who worked firsthand with ratios, that the professional orders and the Ombudsperson also recognize the importance of appropriate ratios and their benefits. Opposing this solution would be completely nonsensical,” concluded Ms. Bédard.