July 17, 2024

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After long reflection, MSSS has no idea how to help labs

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June 17, 2024

Image Health ministry consultations about medical labs | APTS denounces lack of substantive proposals after more than a year of reflection

Longueuil – The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) strongly criticized the government’s inertia at the end of a meeting called by the health and social services ministry (MSSS) to present the outcome of a day of consultations on medical labs that had been held on April 28, 2023.

“All that for this! Our members had high expectations after a year and two months, and our recommendations had been clear,” said APTS president Robert Comeau. “But we’re still waiting for solutions. Right now, the labour shortage is such that medical labs are heading straight for a wall. We have to set a new course, and for that we need substantive proposals and a clear timeline. Minister Dubé has to intervene – it’s urgent.”

The meeting took place at the approach of a summer season that promises to be very difficult for labs, given current staff shortages. It also followed a provincial focus day – organized by the APTS on May 6 – that brought together all of the stakeholders involved in medical labs except MSSS representatives (who had turned down the invitation).

“We all know the recipe that would make things work,” said APTS vice-president and medical technologist Sandra Etienne. “We can’t rely exclusively on automation to make up for lack of employees. Their expertise is irreplaceable. If we want sustainable, long-lasting solutions for the labour shortage, we need to provide greater recognition for lab professions, to focus on the next generation of employees by promoting CEGEP technical training programs in biomedical laboratory technology, and to carry out a genuine process of workforce planning to identify the health care system’s needs in terms of human resources. The fact that the MSSS showed up today without a timeline, or a single proposal that could be carried out in the short term, is inexcusable.”

The National Assembly adopted a unanimous motion on May 30 taking note of the Joint statement on the future of medical laboratories, recognizing the key role played by public labs in providing accessible, high-quality services across Québec, and asking the government to fully consider the solutions put forward in the joint statement following the lab reorganization carried out by the MSSS.

“Without labs, we can’t provide health care or services – nearly 85% of diagnoses depend on these essential services,” said Robert Comeau. “Quebecers have a right to expect that the government will take this crisis seriously. The APTS is offering, once again, to cooperate in finding concrete and effective solutions to attract and retain employees, and to improve conditions of practice and the organization of work in labs. We have to stop travelling along parallel tracks that never meet. To take care of Quebecers’ health and protect the future of our public labs, we have to change course, and to do that, we need to act together.”

The APTS

The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) represents more than 65,000 members who play a key role in ensuring that health and social services institutions run smoothly. Our members provide a wide range of services for all Quebecers, including diagnostic, rehabilitation, nutrition, psychosocial intervention, clinical support, and prevention services.


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