Overwhelmed Emergencies |  “There is a shortage of nurses all over the world,” argues Legault

Overwhelmed Emergencies | “There is a shortage of nurses all over the world,” argues Legault

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(Quebec) François Legault is urging the patience of Quebecers wondering when Minister Christian Dubé’s health plan will allow the network to catch their breath and citizens have access to medical care within a more reasonable timeframe.

Posted at 1:36 p.m

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While an unprecedented crisis has rocked the emergency department at Montreal’s Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital in recent days, the prime minister said he understood the frustration of nurses, who threatened to quit en bloc, in part because of mandatory overtime (TSO) imposed on them .

“There is a shortage of nurses, it leads to forced overtime and there are nurses who are exhausted for good reason and then maybe even more in demand […] in Maisonneuve-Rosemont than the average Quebec hospital,” noted Mr. Legault.

“There is a shortage of nurses worldwide. What we also find is that, all things considered, Maisonneuve-Rosemont lacks more than your average Quebec hospital, so there must indeed be an adjustment. […] We cannot ask Maisonneuve-Rosemont staff to perform miracles,” added the Premier.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Christian Dubé went to the hospital to announce that an outside consultant has been appointed to resolve the crisis. The head of the emergency service, who was the target of complaints from the nursing staff, was also assigned to another service.

Is it normal that the minister was forced to go to the hospital to deal with an internal crisis? In response to this question, Mr Legault reiterated that “the situation is serious enough” for Mr Dubé to intervene.

Improvements by 2025

In the various hospitals in Quebec, where delays in providing emergency care are increasing, the situation should gradually improve with the implementation of the measures envisaged in Christian Dubé’s health plan by 2025, said the prime minister.

“How long will it take to fill all the foster positions that we want to fill? A nurse, [c’est] at least three years of CEGEP,” he said, adding that the health minister “has given himself a plan so that there are many facts in the mandate, including up to here 2025.”

The Prime Minister also reiterated that his government is negotiating with the professional bodies to delegate a greater number of legislative acts to other employment agencies in order to reduce the workload on nurses.

“At some point you have to be able to work with what’s available as a workforce,” said Mr. Legault.

In the healthcare plan unveiled last spring, Quebec aims to eliminate the use of mandatory overtime by segmenting occupations and reducing the administrative responsibilities of clinical staff. The government has also pledged to make the network more accessible, notably by catching up on the backlog of surgeries created during the pandemic and by reducing waiting times in emergency rooms.