February 13, 2018 12:20 pm

Quebec government to blame for nursing crisis: patients’ rights advocate

WATCH: Patients' rights advocate Paul Brunet discusses the crisis facing Quebec nurses with Global's Laura Casella.


Quebec nurses have recently come forward, sounding the alarm about forced overtime and exhaustion among the ranks.

Paul Brunet, a patients’ rights advocate with the Conseil pour la protection des malades told Global News Morning he’s not surprised. He’s laying the blame on the provincial government.

“I’m just observing and analyzing the situation,” he said. “You have a rise in leave of absence for exhaustion, you have a rise of part-time job offers, you have cuts of $1 billion in your company.”

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READ MORE: Nurses’ union wants money for care, not doctor salaries

The concern Brunet said, is that patients aren’t getting the best care possible.

“It’s a crisis of mistreatment. When people are stressed, by not having enough resources, sometimes they do things that are not necessarily ethical towards patients,” he said.

READ MORE: Quebec health minister called ‘arrogant,’ blamed by opposition for nurses’ exhaustion

Brunet didn’t mince his words when placing the blame squarely on the government’s shoulders.

“When nobody wants to come and work for the company, who is the problem?” he asked. “In terms of management analysis, the employer is the problem. The government is the worst employer of the health system considering all the facts that are in front of us.”

WATCHQuebec nurses: Overworked and exhausted

Brunet went further, calling  Gaétan Barrette’s health-care reforms “erratic” and added the lack of consultations raised ethical concerns.

Not everything Brunet had to say about Barrette was bad.

“He has such determination, he has such guts, he doesn’t mind making friends around him contrary to some other politicians we’ve seen in the past,” Brunet said about Quebec’s health minister. “But I would have wanted him to work for patients, not for doctors, not for politics, for patients.”

READ MORE: Not-so-super clinics in Quebec?

While Brunet didn’t offer up any solutions to the current crisis, he hinted that a change in focus was needed.

“The patients are the only objective he [Barrette] should have followed and all the rest, with all due respect, are means to get to the raison-d’être of the system.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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