Summer season : The Health Minister should tell healthcare professionals how he will support them this summer
While the situation in the health network is still as difficult, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ is asking Health Minister Christian Dubé to explain to healthcare professionals how he will show them support during the fast-approaching summer season. “The Health Minister has been very busy with Bill 15 and negotiating an agreement with medical specialists to catch up on surgeries. However, during this time, it’s been radio silence for healthcare professionals who will have to handle the challenges that come with summer. Everyone who is directly involved with the health network knows that, like the flu season that returns every winter, the next weeks will be exhausting for the staff. And, unfortunately, echoes from the field lead us once again to believe that the worst is ahead for those who have to care for patients,” stated Julie Bouchard, FIQ president.
If there’s no plan, it will be a catastrophe
In a press conference, the president of the Federation pointed out that there will be major challenges for emergency departments, but also for the rest of the centres of activities. “The network is facing major workforce issues and yet it seems less prepared than ever to get through this critical time. Our expectations are legitimate in this context and we are asking Minister Christian Dubé how he intends to support nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists, and what concrete measures he will offer them in the coming weeks,” said Ms. Bouchard.
Managers that are barely prepared or not prepared at all
The Federation believes managers should be well aware of what will or will not potentially affect care and services over the summer. Several union representatives tried to find out what their plan was, but with no luck. They are dealing with improvisation, poor predictions, or a complete lack of planning. “If the Minister doesn’t send a clear message to its managers on what they should and are allowed to do, it could be the summer that pushes many healthcare professionals over the edge. Without a plan, managers will take the dangerous road of managing from day to day, relying on mandatory overtime (MOT) rather than giving healthcare professionals a chance to breathe and release some of the pressure. These workers have a right to vacation time and they are in dire need of it. Their limit was crossed a long time ago and, in all likelihood, negotiations to renew the collective agreement will not be over before the summer. So, the Minister should tell us if he has things under control and how he intends to ensure the situation will not deteriorate during the impending summer season,” continued the spokesperson.
Clear signals now!
The Federation is asking that the Minister commit to asking his managers to:
- Have employers stop using coercive measures;
- Use incentives;
- Open a dialogue with local unions to find human-scale solutions;
- Find a way to significantly improve schedule predictability.
As the Federation sees it, the Health Minister is responsible, like the employer, for sending healthcare professionals a clear message that he will be there to support them and ensure that they can work in acceptable working conditions, while also being able to rest and have quality time with their loved ones,” concluded the president.