APTS wants to take care of the health system

This text is part of the special Syndicalism booklet

At its annual convention in November, the Alliance of Professional and Technical Personnel in Health and Social Services (APTS) adopted its very first political platform, based on three areas: care for its members, community and environment.

In a pandemic context, when the previously fragile health system is tested, this platform takes on its full meaning, testifying to a desire to go beyond traditional claims. Because everyone has seen it over the past two years: if a virus can shake an entire society, those with a mission to protect the population will inevitably suffer the effects.

APTS president, Robert Comeau, was at the forefront to see how the health crisis has affected the daily lives, as well as morale, of laboratory technologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists. , etc. Because 65,000 members of this union practice professions that have not been much highlighted since the beginning of the crisis, but are as important to the proper functioning of a hospital, a clinic or a school.

“The Legault government has noticed the problems of nurses and orderlies, and that’s good,” said the APTS president, who is also a medical imaging technologist. But those in youth centers are just the tip of the iceberg. We are bathed in an eternal climate of crisis, and we do not stop to think on which side it will explode; professionals are tired of experiencing this stress. »

Their stress affects clients, but not necessarily in the same way as for nurses, asserted the person who has been involved with APTS since it was founded. “Their absence [à l’urgence ou au bloc opératoire] is immediately felt. On our side, this can be seen on the waiting lists. They keep getting longer, and for most people, that means six months or a year of waiting. But after an accident, getting an appointment with a physiotherapist quickly is important. Same thing for the psychologist in a crisis situation. »

For dialogue and solution

To remedy the situation and shorten the delays, does the solution involve a greater contribution from the private sector? “We’re not against it,” Robert Comeau said. In rare times like this pandemic, it can help the public network. »

According to some, this imbalance was also caused by the departure of workers from the public sector towards the benefit of the private sector, which the APTS president acknowledged.

“It’s attractive, with better salaries and better working conditions, but I can assure you that our members are at the heart of public service, which exists to serve the population, whatever their income.But they also want to work with a sufficient number of teams and recognize their expertise.That doesn’t always happen, everyone agrees.

Does Health Minister Christian Dubé’s desire to “overhaul” the system represent a glimmer of hope in the eyes of APTS? “Maybe it will come later, but at least the government doesn’t seem to want to change the structures,” Robert Comeau said with relief. We’re talking about reinvesting in mental health, in youth centers. , sectors that have been underfunded for too long. One thing is certain: we will not practice an empty seat policy. Our members expect us to provide solutions, and I will be their spokesperson. »

In these impending debates, the issue of funding is inevitable. In an open letter published on April 4 on the initiative of the Bloc Québécois and co -signed by several labor organizations, including APTS, an urgent appeal was made to the Trudeau government for increasing health transfers, while calming the its desire to interfere. in provincial jurisdictions. Robert Comeau has trouble understanding this federal posture, which makes the accountability role of an exhausted network more difficult, especially since the money comes from the pockets of both taxpayers.

According to him, the Quebec government can set an example by creating a budget shield around the amounts allocated to health and social services, protection even, and above all, in times of turmoil. . Expenditures will be $ 54.2 billion in 2022-2023, “and it’s fun to go there because there’s more room for maneuvering.” And at least in appearance.

To be seen in the video

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