OUTAOUAIS – Leaders of the Centre intégré de la santé et des services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO) tabled their first budget, June 29, in Gatineau. In order to balance the $788 million budget, CISSSO had to make about $32 million in cuts; $20 million were imposed by the government, while the remaining $12 million refer to the combined deficits of all institutions forming the CISSSO. “They are no longer allowed to run a deficit, so the $12 million debt must also be recovered,” explained Pontiac MNA, Andre Fortin.
In order to cut costs, 257 positions will be eliminated, which represents 3% of CISSSO’s workforce. However, in order to reduce the number of jobs lost, many of the eliminated positions were already vacant or were filled by someone who had previously announced their departure. Taking this re-arrangement into account, 130 people will lose their jobs. According to Fortin, given that the CISSSO posts about 1,800 job openings per year, many of those left unemployed can “find their way back into the system at some point.”
Various administrative positions had already been eliminated when CISSSO was formed earlier this year, so the new job cuts will be for front-line workers such as nursing assistants.
Pontiac spared the
$1,032,416 budget cut
When CISSSO was
created many feared the deficits of other institutions would also become the responsibility of those who had operated efficiently over the years, such as the former Centre de Sante et de services Sociaux du Pontiac; it was also feared that services would be cut in rural regions in order to make up for the deficits of other institutions. Fortin explained this is not the case and each institution is responsible for recovering their own deficit. While the CSSSP had a mere $15,000 deficit in the last fiscal year, the CSSS de Gatineau and CSSS de Papineau ran
$6.1 million and $3.3 million deficits respectively.
The former CSSSP will also not witness any further job losses, although 6
positions will be eliminated.
In order to generate additional revenue and to reduce costly expansions, measures to make better use of existing facilities
and to encourage patients to seek services in
Quebec rather than out
of province will be
For example, the Operating Room at the Pontiac Community Hospital, which is
currently only in use four days a week, will be made available to other CISSSO surgeons to allow the OR to be in use seven days a
week; this will eliminate future expansions in other
institutions, and will
reduce wait times for
surgeries in hopes of
preventing patients from seeking out health
services in Ontario.
“The internal use of resources will also be
maximized,” said Fortin, explaining that referrals
to private practitioners
outside of the CISSSO and to those across the border will be reduced as much as possible.
In conclusion, Fortin stressed once again that patient services will not be compromised in light of the new cutbacks, and that all institutions and their
services will remain in place, including the 24-hour emergency service at the CLSC Mansfield.