The health minister once again proves that he prefers to work alone and in a silo. By shutting out unions, he is neglecting an essential perspective on reality in the field and solutions for permanently resolving the exodus and depletion of the healthcare workforce. That is the true matter at stake here. By doing this, he is avoiding addressing the crucial issue of poor working conditions and the lack of improvement and recognition of the licensed practical nursing profession on care teams. That is what explains, in part, such low rates of retention for the profession over five years. After the government has rolled out its à la carte, off-target measures, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ and the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec | Secteur privé–FIQP invite the minister to rise above the fray.
“No one can be against the government’s desire to train 2,000 licensed practical nurses to come work in a failing health network. There’s clearly a staff shortage! But the problem will still be there if we are unable to give them the ability to fully exercise their field of practice. If we don’t value them, don’t provide adequate conditions, or offer them all of the clinical support required to work, we won’t have made any progress. That’s what working on retention is. The government is only focusing on attraction measures. Yet, immediate changes are needed to relieve the very real distress our members are experiencing in the field. What language do we have to speak in for the health minister to understand the message? Shutting out unions only makes the problem worse. He is delaying the implementation of sustainable solutions to stop the exodus, as well delaying doing what’s necessary to make the government a good employer. It’s the key during a complex time with a global labour shortage.Nathalie Levesque, interim President, Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec– FIQ
Lots of unknowns
For Federations that represent 90% women, respecting the collective agreement and access to all of its benefits, especially the organization of work time to facilitate work-family-personal life balance, is an imperative condition for guaranteeing successful integration and ensuring the retention of the workforce. A consultation ahead of time would have made it possible to respond to the many questions that this new measure will raise.
“We see that the government has money to attract a workforce to healthcare. It would be better if it spent it wisely and stopped taking one step forward and then three steps back. Its short-term vision isn’t helping anyone, especially not our members who have been shouldering all of the weight of maintaining health services. This isn’t the change in culture that people have been demanding. When will the government take measures without seeking political gains on an issue as essential as the healthcare labour shortage? Bringing the right stakeholders, whether it be unions, professional orders, educational institutions, experts, specialists, and all parties at the National Assembly, to the table to discuss the future of the health network and solutions to permanently resolve the shortage would be a good start.”Sonia Mancier, President, Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQP