Quebec is working on a ministerial decree that would prohibit the mobility of beneficiary attendants (PAB) between health establishments, but not that of nursing assistants, according to information from the Duty.
The Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, wants to publish in the coming days the ministerial decree “allowing the ban on staff mobility” that he announced in his action plan for the second wave. But the context of shortage of manpower among nurses is causing him such headaches that he would only ban PAB trips.
When he tabled his action plan for a second wave on August 18, Minister Dubé was final. “If a leader, regardless of his level, does staff mobility, well, there will be consequences,” he said. He had asked the leaders of the health network to comply with his wishes before September 30.
However, the elected official also underlined the presence of a “stake” on the side of nurses and nursing assistants, recalled Tuesday his press secretary, Marjaurie Côté-Boileau. “We are doing everything we can to limit the mobility” of nurses and support staff, she added, while stressing the importance of the infection prevention and control protocol implemented in Quebec.
In the first wave, healthcare workers were vectors of COVID-19. “There is no such thing as zero risk,” admitted Mme Côté-Boileau. In the context, “let us also recall that if staff mobility must be done to avoid a breakdown in service, we ask the managers in place in the CHSLDs to document this decision and report them to the Ministry of Health”, t she pointed out. “They will be responsible and accountable for this decision. “
Change of speech
In the healthcare network, the discourse on the prohibition of labor mobility has now given way to a desire to “reduce as much as possible” or “limit to the minimum” staff movements.
At the heart of the problem: the lack of nurses and nursing assistants. At the start of the second wave, “emergencies are a bit like the holiday season” and intensive care departments are out of service, noted the president of the Interprofessional Health Federation (FIQ), Nancy Bédard.
Her colleague from the FIQ private sector, Sonia Mancier, makes the same observation. Since mid-April, 60 of the 500 nurses and nursing assistants that she represents and who work in private contracted CHSLDs have resigned. Those who work in non-contracted establishments are even more numerous to leave: 27 of the 80 members she had have chosen to leave the profession, or to turn to employment agencies.
Of the 17 CISSS and CIUSSS who answered questions from Duty, only 3 said they had ended labor mobility within their establishments. Many welcomed the arrival of beneficiary attendants trained this summer, and stressed that these newcomers made it possible to put a brake on the movement of personnel in this shift.
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However, the situation remains more difficult with nurses. “Mobility is kept to a minimum among nurses and nursing assistants and we limit the mobility of other health professionals, while strictly respecting the standards of infection prevention and control”, for example informed the CISSS of Montérégie-Center.
Called on Tuesday to detail the manpower problems he is facing, Minister Dubé immediately spoke about the situation of nurses. “We don’t have a lot of surplus,” he admitted. When nurses are called upon to perform COVID-19 screening tests, “certain activities” are in fact put on the ice, he said.
Managers in place … soon
In recent days, Minister Dubé and Premier François Legault have declared that managers had been appointed in each of the CHSLDs in Quebec.
A tour of the CISSS and CIUSSS shows that not all managers will be in place in the public network as quickly as the two elected officials claim.
The CISSS de la Montérégie-Est intends to “fill the positions within two weeks”. The one in Est-de-Île-de-Montréal will finalize the appointment of three of its 15 managers on October 12. At the CIUSSS du Nord-de-Île-de-Montréal, the “selected candidates will take up their positions in October”. On the North Shore, “we are confident of meeting [les postes] soon, ”said spokesman Pascal Paradis.
In Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, “the hiring process is still underway,” simply said the spokesperson for the CIUSSS. As for the CIUSSS de la Mauricie-Center-du-Québec, its spokesperson assures us that the 23 managerial positions it has posted will be filled on Wednesday.
At Minister Dubé’s office, Marjaurie Côté-Boileau said on Tuesday “that there will be a local manager in place for each of the public CHSLDs by the end of the day on September 30”. She did not mention the situation of private CHSLDs.