Manifestation du SCFP 4475 à Magog le 18 juin 2018 pour dénoncer la détresse du personnel et des patients dans le réseau de la santé et des services sociaux. Photo archives SCFP / Claude Roussel

This week, CUPE representatives attended Ministers Marguerite Blais and Lionel Carmant’s announcement that work will begin on the first-ever housing and long-term care policy. This is an important undertaking that will establish best practices and improve patients’ quality of life. However, the process will fail if fundamental problems that plague the system are not addressed in the coming years.

“Minister Blais wants residents to feel at home and to receive personalized care in a supportive, friendly and safe atmosphere. We are 100% in favour and offer our full support. However, issues such as staff shortages, overwork, stress and burnout must absolutely be resolved first.  If not, it’s like trying to remodel a house while it’s burning down,” said Frédéric Brisson, president of the provincial social services council (CPAS-CUPE).

Over the past few years, CUPE has consistently lobbied for the staffing shortage to be addressed. Only this will ensure that all residents are properly fed, washed and cared for, and are given quality human contact.

“We applaud the minister’s commitment to consult with us fully during the process. She, too, recognizes that, fundamentally, staff working conditions are residents’ living conditions,” added Frédéric Brisson.

Finally, CUPE took advantage of the opportunity to ask Minister Carmant whether seniors’ homes will eventually be fully integrated into the public health care and social services system. Having received no clear answer, CUPE will be keeping a very close eye on how the process plays out.

Photo: CUPE 4475 rally at Magog, June 18, 2018, to protest staff and patient stress in the public health and social services sector. Photo archives CUPE Quebec  / Claude Roussel