Government’s response to health and social services in crisis: procrastination

17 décembre 2019

The APTS proposed a series of specific measures to improve working conditions and help attract and retain personnel in health and social services, while the government was content to offer vague and ambiguous sectoral proposals whose intentions were dubious, once again delaying the process of setting up solutions to address the serious crisis wracking our public health and social services system.

« Our public system is in crisis, and the government can find nothing better to propose than lofty intentions. At the rate we’re going, talks will be dragging on forever as the alarm bells go off. Is Mr. Dubé waiting for half the professional and technical personnel to leave the public health and social services system before taking action? » demanded APTS union president, Andrée Poirier.

The situation in public health and social services, which the APTS has been decrying for years, is so grave that eight professional orders organized a rare joint media conference to express their concern that there will be a mass exodus from the public sector, given their members’ deplorable working conditions and conditions of practice. Moreover, 57% of their members reported that service accessibility has deteriorated since the Barrette reform. The professional orders vigorously sounded the alarm to the ministry of health and social services (MSSS) to take prompt action. It seems that Mr. Dubé has chosen to turn a deaf ear.

“It’s simple: 49% of the members of these eight professional orders, who are also among the members we represent, want to leave the public sector. And 25% want to quit their profession. As a society, we can’t take that kind of ravaging of our public system. We expected the government to make a substantial effort to rapidly improve the working conditions and conditions of practice of professional and technical personnel. Instead, it is proposing a series of intentions. Mr. Dubé has a political choice to make: either rebuild the public system that has been undermined by the Barrette reform, or let it languish, » added Ms. Poirier.

The government’s lack of vision to address the problems facing our health and social services system is of great concern for the APTS, which finds no concrete or relevant measures in the government proposal that would help attract and retain personnel in the public sector.

« We don’t know what era Mr. Dubé is living in. He’s completely disconnected from the needs of the current workforce and the next generation coming into the workforce, and is totally blind to the far more attractive conditions offered outside the public sector. Instead of making it more enticing to work in public health and social services, these government proposals miss the mark altogether. There’s nothing in the document presented by the government that offers a boost or a ray of hope for professionals and technicians who are at the end of their rope, » Andrée Poirier added.

In closing, the APTS urges the government to rapidly begin talks on sectoral matters to renew the collective agreement. The many inconsistencies between Mr. Dubé’s public statements and what’s found in the government proposals illustrate how far removed the government is from specific proposals that would improve the working conditions and conditions of practice of professionals and technicians in health and social services.

« The crisis in health and social services demands prompt action. Government procrastination has gone on long enough. The government has to shift into high gear. We’re ready to discuss specific issues and solutions tailored to the current needs of the workforce in public health and social services. But for our members on the front line, one thing is clear: we’re done working ourselves sick!” concluded the APTS president.