CUPE 5007 is denouncing the untenable situation that patients and personnel have been enduring since the mergers that resulted in the creation of the Centre intégré de santé et services sociaux du Bas-Saint-Laurent (CISSS-BSL).

The union has noted that the CISSS is forcing and threatening personnel to work overtime every week. Those affected include orderlies, caseworkers, health and social services auxiliaries, housekeeping, food services, laundry staff and so on. Everyone is in the same boat.  

Overtime (OT) is normally used as a last resort, and employees are not required to work more than four hours of OT.  “I even have one woman who worked 24 hours straight and another employee who, after working 16 hours, fell asleep at the wheel on the way back home and was involved in an accident,” denounced union president, Johanne Campagna.

During this time, the quality of patient care has been declining. According to health network standards, there must be one orderly per 6 or 7 patients. It is a regular occurrence to see 9 and 10 per orderly, and this number has even reached 16 in recent weeks.

The employer is not staffing vacant positions and is not even taking into account the care requirements of new orderlies. This situation has brought on burnout, sick leave and resignations.

Minister Gaétan Barrette has demanded that patients receive a second bath, which the union has applauded. The problem is that managers have created bath positions by either expanding the duties of current positions or by creating part-time positions.

Orderlies can be required to give up to 10 baths in a day, in addition to helping feed patients. Baths are not to last more than 55 minutes or so. “Under these circumstances, who can provide quality care within that amount of time? Once again, patients are shortchanged and the staff burns out,” added the president of CUPE 5007.

Moreover, if employees don’t work fast enough, they are reprimanded or fired, this all because the staff is intent on providing quality care; however, the system is only focused on budget considerations and not on the quality of care that a public system must provide.

“Nonetheless, whether the issue is OT, the white code (when employees must intervene physically when a patient is in crisis) or a second bath, we have proposed some interesting solutions that were dismissed by the executives of the CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent,” said Campagna.