For a few weeks now, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) has been promoting its track record for the last four years and is bragging that it has fulfilled its promises. Considering that the election campaign will start soon, it comes as no surprise that the CAQ party is tooting its own horn as it seeks a second term in power. However, it has a poor track record when it comes to health care and healthcare professionals.
This overview has left out the significantly damaging impacts that the CAQ’s decisions, or lack thereof, have had on healthcare professionals in the public health network. These two years in a pandemic have been extremely difficult for nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists. You have been on the front line working relentlessly during a pandemic. Unfortunately, many of you have done this at the cost of your own physical and mental health.
Despite what Mr. Legault may say, his government does not have an “impressive” track record in health care. Why? Because healthcare professionals have to work under circumstances that are more difficult than when he came into power. Independent labour has been increasingly sucking the lifeblood of the public network, mandatory overtime is omnipresent, and due to the insufficient healthcare professional-to-patient ratios, the workload is inhumane. It is clearly no longer possible to provide safe, quality care to the population.
What’s more, when the CAQ claims it has “awarded history-making wage increases” to Quebec nurses, it’s lying! The amounts related to COVID-19 are temporary. For most healthcare professionals, these amounts have already disappeared from their pay cheques. What’s the truth? In reality, François Legault’s government gave health network workers a 2% annual increase.
Mr. Legault, healthcare professionals were literally put under your government’s wardship over the last two years. You were controlling their professional lives and, consequently, their personal lives. That’s not what I would call being a top employer!
Summer is on our doorstep and it looks like it’s going to be difficult, once again. While the ink is drying on your election campaign signs before they are put up across the province, healthcare professionals ask you to send a clear message to your network managers: the care and services provided must be proportionate to the staff available. Otherwise, they’ll have to make the necessary decisions.
We will be paying close attention and will make sure that healthcare professionals take their vacations. We will ensure they are not scapegoats for two years in a pandemic and the current pitiful state of the network.