OUTAOUAIS – COVID
hospitalizations are increasing, and in response, the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO) has imposed a ministerial order on nurses, nursing assistants and préposes in the Hull and Gatineau hospitals requiring those with part-time positions to work fulltime. Employees may also be required to move from unit to unit based on need.
“The hospitalization needs are great. We had 20 beds in the first wave and at the beginning of the second wave, we were talking about needing 40 beds. Today, we have to increase to 82 beds spread over four care units at the Hull Hospital to meet the needs,” said Josée Filion, CISSSO director general.
The provincial government introduced the ministerial order at the beginning of the pandemic. It overrides collective agreements and allows health authorities to refuse vacation time and force part-time employees to take on full-time schedules.
During a virtual press conference on November 4, Robert Giard, CISSSO’s Director of Human Resources, Communications and Legal Affairs, said
the organization had no other options and the measure will be implemented as “humanely” and “sparingly” as possible.
“We offered a voluntary full-time upgrade to employees, but this hasn’t resulted in sufficient resources to meet the needs. We evaluated all possible options before considering [this]. We had no choice but to use this last lever at our disposal … we’re not insensitive to the situation,” explained Giard.
Although talk of resignations from outraged employees have been circulating and multiplying, Giard said everything is going relatively well.
Employees were asked to voluntarily indicate where they can increase their working hours.
“Special considerations” will be given to employees in exceptional circumstances that prevent them from working full-time, but to ensure fairness, Giard said they will do everything they can to make sure everyone is working full-time.
As for consequences for those who do not comply, Giard said they “would be used as a last resort”; the nature of the consequences hasn’t been determined.
The measures do not affect the Pontiac Community Hospital.
With the increase in COVID hospitalizations, CISSSO announced on October 30 that it would be reducing certain activities in the Hull and Gatineau hospitals: endoscopy services; outpatient clinics, and non-emergency surgeries. These activities were planned to resume November 5, but were delayed.
Operating room and endoscopy services resumed November 9, but others are still reduced or taking place via teleconsultation. Medical imaging at the Hull hospital was moved to the Gatineau Hospital in order to limit traffic in that building.