Federation: More help for orderlies

Existing staff -already overworked — are being tasked with accompanying new hires

For all healthcare staff, the imminent arrival of a reinforcement of thousands of new orderlies to consolidate services, particularly in CHSLDs, is excellent news, says the province’s largest healthcare workers’ union.

The FSSS – CSN lauds the move, but is warning that the government’s current plan to integrate the new workers may cause more problems in terms of workload of existing staff.

“The lump sum of $5 per day offered by the government to the people who will accompany the trainees is clearly insufficient” says a Federation statement, especially considering the extent that existing orderlies are seemingly required to take on the role of day-to-day accompanying new staff.

“This should not have the effect of overloading the staff further. “

The new interns will arrive in establishments in the coming days after only a few weeks of accelerated training, and according to the FSSS – CSN, some have not yet fully learned all the principles of safe movement of patients, or how to perform actions inherent in the daily work of orderlies, “such as bathing a person with loss of autonomy. They will have a lot to learn once they are on the floor.”

“To continue their learning, they will be matched in the workplace with orderlies from establishments that are already overcrowded. It would be a minimum that the Ministry adequately recognize the contribution of experienced PABs who will be called upon to train new ones.”

The unions want the establishments to immediately offer quality full-time positions to existing staff, which have done the heavy lifting to date, and are now asked to guide others.

In addition, the FSSS – CSN is calling for the creation of an emergency working group bringing together not only the unions and the health ministry, but also the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Santé publique and the CNESST, so that effective preventive measures are deployed without delay, both in the public and private networks.

“The network was ill-prepared to deal with the first wave of the pandemic. Employers failed to protect the health and safety of their workers, and major fixes need to be made, starting with raising the level of protection to effectively deal with possible aerial transmission of the virus,” reads the announcement, adding that there is no consensus on the mode of transmission of COVID-19. “We are making the same mistakes as during the SARS crisis of 2003… Until the question of the mode of transmission is clarified, we must apply the precautionary principle by providing staff with the necessary equipment.”

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