Montreal, Wednesday, May 25, 2011– Meeting in conference today in Montreal, close to a hundred people involved in the health network, both workers in the community and Quebec and French academics, have offered an alarming assessment of the impact of the recent health and social services reforms in Quebec.
Far from improving care for the population, the new management approach, inspired by large corporations like Toyota, has had a devastating effect on the mental health of workers in the public network. Their ability to meet the urgent needs of the population has been seriously undermined, putting pressure on the community, caregivers and families.
According to Guy Jolicoeur, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), “The lack of trust in the workers, which is reflected in the introduction of control procedures worthy of a production line, has reduced professional autonomy and the ability to provide personalized care.”
Community workers in the field are seeing significant problems in access to care, especially for the elderly. According to Sébastien Rivard, coordinator of the RIOCM (Regroupement intersectoriels des organismes communautaires – Inter-sectorial coalition of community organizations), “The community sector cannot tolerate seeing the elderly left behind by the health and social service centres (CSSS).It is imperative that the Quebec government reinvest in social services instead of focusing solely on management reforms.”
Academics Angelo Soares, ESG UQAM (School of Management), and Dominique Lhuilier, Centre de recherche sur le Travail et le Développement (Centre for research on labour and development) in Paris, believe that the dominant global trend in public management is having a deleterious effect on workers because of the precedence of supervisory procedures over the recognition of actual work.
To end the suffering of those who give and receive care, we must abandon this industrial approach to management in our public social services and return to a more humane management style where the primary concern is the ability to provide care.
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