FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Coroner’s report : An urgent need for a law on safe ratios

Coroner’s report : An urgent need for a law on safe ratios

Out of Coroner Géhane Kamel’s 23 recommendations, six mirror the proposals the FIQ and FIQP have been making for years. The Federations would like these recommendations to be taken seriously and rapidly implemented by the government. They would ensure the safety of healthcare professionals and patients.

During the coroner’s inquiry, the FIQ formulated ten recommendations that were reiterated in a brief submitted as part of the consultation. The FIQ’s two key recommendations, i.e., implementing safe healthcare professional-to-patient ratios and integrating the principle of precaution into the Public Health Act, were echoed in the coroner’s recommendations.

Among the FIQ’s other recommendations, the coroner also echoed the need:

  • to ensure the accountability of CISSS/CIUSSS managers and the Ministry of Health and Social Services;
  • to maintain the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • to ensure a sufficient number of on-site infection prevention and control nurses in CHSLDs;
  • to provide specific training for healthcare professionals practicing in CHSLDs.

Ms. Kamel’s report criticizes authorities’ management of the crisis. They failed to fulfil their duty of precaution and preparation. Kamel also voiced her recognition of healthcare professionals who witnessed this unprecedented crisis and who had to navigate an extremely difficult situation from the start of the pandemic.

An urgent need for a law on safe ratios

Like the Ombudsperson’s and Health and Welfare Commissioner’s report, the coroner’s report provides an accurate, though distressing, picture illustrating the necessity to rapidly implement a law on safe healthcare professional-to-patient ratios, which would promote an organization of work that ensures safe, quality care.

For several years now the Federations have been fighting to implement a law on safe healthcare professional-to-patient ratios. Allied with several health organizations, the Federations reiterate the urgency of putting this structuring measure in place. It would help not only to mitigate the shortage of healthcare professionals in the health network but would also ensure the safety and quality of care offered, regardless of the government in power. The purpose of their plea is to mobilize the population to stir up real political will among decision-makers to make it happen.

A law on safe ratios would also align with the principle of precaution, which aims to limit potential risks that healthcare professionals and patients may face, especially in the context of a health crisis.