While Nathalie Petitclerc insists on saying that last year’s obstacles were a kind of forced step towards a more balanced distribution of available resources, that the results speak for themselves and that better times are yet to come, union representatives invite her to show more lucidity.
“They are reorganizing the care teams and we are overloaded with work. Instead of having 10 patients in our care, we have 14 or 15,” observes Patricia Mailhot, president of the Union of Health Professionals of Mauricie and the Center of Quebec, which represents some 5,600 workers at the establishment.
Mailhot accuses the CIUSSS and its director general of playing with the numbers to present a more optimistic portrait of reality than that experienced by nurses and caregivers on the ground.
However, in the long term, professional burnout decimates workers and accentuates the evil that we tried to combat from the beginning, analyzes Mailhot.
This without taking into account the closures of services caused by the movement of personnel and the positions that remained vacant, says the president of the union. He mentions in particular the failures in preventive health and sexual health services that occurred this summer in Drummondville. “Are they really going to go ahead and implement this throughout the CIUSSS, like they said they were going to do?” worries those who openly demanded Petitclerc’s departure just a few weeks ago.
The tone is no happier on the part of the Paratechnical Staff Union of Auxiliary and Commercial Services of the CIUSSS MCQ, which represents some 6,000 workers at the establishment.
“The ministry decided that the CIUSSS MCQ was perhaps a very good laboratory to carry out new experiments aimed at modernizing the network,” jokes the union’s president, Marie-Josée Hamelin. However, the employers’ arbitrary measures are not without impact on the teams, she explains.
In a context of chronic staff shortages, the imposition of new ways of doing things adds to an already too heavy workload.
The lack of personnel is a vicious circle that causes excess work among those who stay, but who eventually fall, laments the unionist. In this context, innovation may not come from technological tools that are placed in the patient’s lap when he enters the hospital, but from kindness toward workers who are at the limit of their strength. “Right now, we’re like little dogs chasing our tails.”