About5 pm,several hundred nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists demonstrated in front of and around the National Assembly to protest against the paltry offers from François Legault’s government at the bargaining table.
“It seems that the government does not understand that there is not a shortage of workers in the health network. What’s happening is an exodus, a run-for-your life caused by the working conditions, and the work overload, in particular. Healthcare professionals are fed up with being constantly pushed to move faster”, explained Julie Bouchard, President of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ.
The government is proposing to make conditions even worse
At the most recent bargaining sessions, the employer party confirmed they want to remove any type of stability for healthcare professionals.
“What the government wants to do is the take a nurse, for example, who has worked in a CLSC for 15 years and send her to fill a hole the next day in surgery. What the government wants to do is to make our working conditions even worse by treating us like pawns, who have no heart, no personal life and no clinical judgement. All this will do is push even more healthcare professionals out the door”, stated Jérôme Rousseau, Vice-President and joint officer for the negotiations.
In a recently released survey, 42% of the nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists surveyed stated they felt like leaving the profession [www.fiqsante.qc.ca/dossiers/non-faits/]. The main reason stated for wanting to leave is the unreasonable workload imposed on them every day.
Increases similar to those of the MNAs
The FIQ is also demanding salary increases similar to that given recently to the MNAs in the National Assembly.
“if the MNAs deserve a 30% increase, surely the dedicated experts who helped us get through the worst pandemic in a century, holding the network together at the risk of their own mental and physical health, deserve no less. If we can spend seven billion dollars making batteries, we can spend the same amount in recognition of the healthcare professionals who save lives every day”, added Nathalie Levesque, Vice-President and joint officer for the negotiations.
The only real solution: healthcare professional-to-patient ratios
The FIQ representatives believe that the one and only real solution to remedy the ills of the health network is to have a real vision and to legislate healthcare professional-to- patient ratios in order to make the setting attractive once again for staff to be hired and to stay there.
“Australia did it, California did it, British Columbia and Oregon have vision and are in the process of doing it. It’s the only way to put an end to the vicious circle we’ve been in for decades. If we continue on our current course, we’ll be heading straight for disaster”, concluded Julie Bouchard.