Work Overload in the Health Sector – Some Solutions

The FSSS-CSN in April launched a campaign to urge the government to invest in order to resolve the problem of overworked employees in the health and social services sector. What solutions have been put forward?

“For all employment categories in the field, the situation in CHSLDs is more than disturbing. There is an alarming lack of personnel, with departures not being replaced. There are even too few administrative clerks such as archivists to ensure minimally effective management of patient files,” says Jeff Begley, president of the Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS-CSN), the largest union in the sector.

Involving staff

“Any solution must largely be based on listening, participation and valuing all of the network’s job titles, health care teams, unions,” insists Jeff Begley. For him, employees must be partners in the search for immediate and long-term solutions to the problems of overloading, shortages and exhaustion of the sector’s personnel.

Pursuing local agreements

The recent agreement by the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean seems to confirm the possibility of effective local agreements. For example, ensuring that employees’ working hours (including food and hygiene services) are on the recall list allows the workload of all staff to be reduced. “There are many easy solutoins that can be quickly adopted, depending on each region’s reality,” emphasizes Jeff Begley. “Successful local negotiations already provide a guarantee of stability for staff.”

“15 practical solutions” 

At the end of 2017, four organizations of patients, caregivers, workers and managers of the network met to form the Health and Social Services Collective. “There is no single and instant miracle solution,” Jeff Begley declares. “We have initiated a series of solutions. These sequences are articulated in 5 broad categories, based on the reality of the network’s major problems.”

Last October, this group published a document listing 15 concrete solutions to the problems experienced by staff and users. “We insist, for example, on the importance of putting an external organization in place, an objective review committee for the Barrette reform. We also want investments to fill a gap of 5 to 7 billion dollars in the network,” says the president of the Health Federation.

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