FIQ strike | Postponement to be expected in surgeries

(Quebec) Dissatisfied with the latest offers from Quebec, the FIQ nurses will in turn go on strike on Wednesday and Thursday. The walkout will have repercussions “almost everywhere” in the network, warns Christian Dubé. Postponements of surgeries are to be expected.

The approximately 80,000 union members of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), which is not part of the common union front, will hold the first two days of strike on November 8 and 9. As the strike targets the health sector, the essential services to be maintained were approved this fall by the Administrative Labor Tribunal.

Emergency rooms and intensive care will not be affected by the walkout and will operate at 100% capacity.

For CHSLDs, the activity rate to be maintained is 90%, 70% in rehabilitation, 60% at Info-Santé and in Family Medicine Groups (GMF) and 70% for operating theaters. “We will try to minimize any disruption. There will be some, but people are ready,” argued Minister Dubé on Tuesday.

There will be [des dérangements] almost everywhere, in surgeries too. The people are here, we’re going to work.

Christian Dubé, Minister of Health

The Ministry of Health and Social Services has set up a “coordination cell” to ensure “the smooth running of operations”.

Surgery postponements

While efforts are being made to clear the backlog, some patients will have their surgeries postponed due to the strike. At the CHU de Québec-Université Laval, the strike will force the postponement of “more than a hundred elective surgeries” since 10 rooms out of 48 will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Prioritization of patients is done in the same way as during load shedding activities linked to the pandemic, it is indicated. “Surgical planning is reviewed accordingly for the coming weeks,” writes the establishment in an email sent to The Press.

At the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, one room per operating room will be closed in each hospital. The rooms that will remain open will operate at 100%, writes the establishment. “Cases are prioritized according to various criteria such as severity, availability of the surgeon and the need to operate immediately,” it says.

Unusually, the Federation of Specialist Physicians of Quebec (FMSQ) has given its support to healthcare professionals who are preparing for the strike. “The FMSQ thus supports them in their fight to obtain better working conditions, otherwise the deterioration of our health system will continue,” indicated to The Press the union of specialist doctors.

The FMSQ hopes that the conflict will be resolved quickly for a return to work as soon as possible in order to tackle waiting lists together, particularly in surgery.

FMSQ in an email

As for the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, nurses will walk off the job “simultaneously” between 7:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., Wednesday and Thursday.

“Postponed surgeries are selected by considering the shortest waiting time, non-oncological cases, as well as patients who have not stopped taking medications in anticipation of their surgery,” indicates the establishment. No oncological surgery will be postponed, we add.

The University Institute of Cardiology and Pneumology of Quebec also confirms that the slowdown will not affect thoracic oncological surgeries. “Unless they have been previously notified of a postponement, all people must show up for their appointment or surgery at the agreed time,” it is emphasized.

At the MUHC, we emphasize that it is possible that the strike “results in a slowdown” particularly for non-urgent surgeries. However, “all patients whose appointments could be postponed will be contacted,” we assure.

A difficult negotiation

The FIQ represents 80,000 nurses, practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists. Public sector collective agreements expired on March 31.

After months of negotiations without much progress and a meeting of the FIQ with Prime Minister François Legault and President of the Treasury Board Sonia LeBel, at the end of August, the FIQ submitted its “adjusted demands” on August 9. last October.

These essentially revolve around work-family balance and workload, in addition to salaries.

For example, the FIQ is calling for the adoption of a law on safe nurse-patient ratios. She also demands that the fifth week of annual leave be obtained before 10 years of service and that a sixth week be added before 15 years of service. She also asks to increase evening and night bonuses.

With The Canadian Press

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