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Letter to the editor 3, Dec. 3, 2020

Open letter from APTS

Two-tiered recognition

The COVID-19 crisis continues to put pressure on our public health and social services network. We are speaking on behalf of physiotherapists, social workers, occupational therapists, nutritionists, medical imaging technologists, and medical technologists who work in the various establishments of the CISSS de la Montérégie. We are on the front-line to ensure we have provided quality services to our population since the start of the pandemic. And after more than 10 months of an ongoing health emergency, no one doubts the essential role that our professions play for the population of the region.

Yet the Government of Quebec, and especially Health and Social Services Minister Christian Dubé, persists in denying our vital contribution. We who hold the network at arm's length! Recognition has been offered since the spring in the form of a lump sum granted to all staff working full-time in CHSLDs. On the other hand, for staff working in designated hospitals, it is only nurses, orderlies and housekeeping staff who are entitled to it.

It might as well say, “…the majority of the staff of these hospitals” but not the professionals or technicians who play a leading role in the fight against the epidemic. We are in contact with the patients, help these people to heal, and support them in their recovery. We are there to ensure their wellbeing, both physical and psychological. And we have spared no efforts to lend a hand in combating the spread of COVID-19 since the onset of the crisis.

We have felt a terrible sense of injustice since the announcement of this lump sum. Most of the colleagues with whom we work side by side receive it, and this, by performing tasks equivalent to ours. Our health is just as at risk and our presence is no less essential.

Are we supposed to just accept the thanks sprinkled over Premier François Legault’s press briefings? We would prefer fair and equitable treatment by receiving part of this lump sum.

All the employees of the health and social services network play an essential role in the proper functioning of our establishments. Why is Minister Dubé playing the divisive card? By wanting to recognize the work of only certain employment groups, it risks demobilizing key sectors of our public services, starting with those of rehabilitation, diagnosis and psychosocial services.

This contempt of the government for professionals and technicians leaves us with a bitter taste. This is all the more worrying as Minister Dubé recently said that the health and social services network is heading straight for a wall.

Faced with the government's blindness, we call on the population, elected officials and managers of the health and social services network in Montérégie to speak up to make Minister Dubé listen to reason. It is high time the role we play in caring for people, ensuring their wellbeing and making our health and social services work, is recognized. We are all essential. Fair and equitable treatment is vital to get through the second wave and to ensure the continuation of our services.

Émilie Charbonneau and Francis Collin

Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS)


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