‘Flying squad’ of health-care workers can help relieve staff shortages in Quebec

By The Canadian Press

The idea of creating a “flying squad” of nurses and orderlies for the Quebec regions most affected by staff shortages has been well received by the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ).

The FIQ represents 80,000 nurses, nursing assistants and other health-care professionals. More than 90 per cent of them claim they proposed this solution last November, but the Government of Quebec had refused it.

The Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) and the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) signed the agreement to create the “flying squad.”

Health Minister Christian Dubé announced Thursday they will represent a large number of orderlies, but a limited number of nurses.

The Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) represents around 5,000 nurses and they have not signed the agreement. However, the CSQ represents nurses in Côte-Nord, one of the two regions hardest hit, along with Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

In an interview on Friday, Jérôme Rousseau, vice-president of the FIQ and responsible for the negotiations, stated the FIQ remains open to the idea of a flying team, provided that the parameters are negotiated.

According to Rousseau, the nurse’s movement must be voluntary, not forced. And to find volunteers, benefits must be offered.

Rousseau also said the flying team, while it’s a good short-term idea, does not solve the long-term problems in regions.

“We need to negotiate ways of attracting and retaining staff in these regions for the longer term,” he concluded.

–This report by La Presse Canadienne was translated by CityNews

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