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Montreal, September 18, 2000 - Following a Quebec-Ottawa agreement on the reinjection of important sums of money into the health care system, some 2,500 respiratory therapists working in all the health care institutions in Quebec sent out an urgent call to the Bouchard government asking that part of this sum help to train and hire respiratory therapists.

There is only one respiratory therapist for all four floors at Mount Sina,0020one respiratory therapist for 600 beds at the Jewish General, and mandatory overtime for all respiratory therapists at the Sherbrooke University Hospital Centre. It makes no sense not only for our members, but also and especially for the patients who must choose their time to have a breathing attack, said ironically Ms. laine Trottier, President of the Quebec Respiratory Therapists Association (QRTA-CUPE).

Minister Marois spoke of investing in medical equipment, in walk-in centres, but she did not speak of respiratory therapists who cannot take vacation because of understaffing, who must wear three beepers to respond to emergencies, and who must regularly work 16 hours in a row, without a break, without eating, but with all the consequences of such a situation, not only on the quality of care, but also on the need to give basic care, added Ms. Trottier.

The shortage of respiratory therapists is exhausting health professionals, who are pushed to their physical and mental limits. The risk of errors is very high right now, and extraordinary, emergency measures must be taken immediately. A government which does not realize the seriousness of the situation, despite the many calls for assistance received recently, would be an irresponsible government, concluded the President of the QRTA.

Source: QRTA and the Canadian Union of Public Employees

Information: laine Trottier, (514) 251-8050

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