Quebec allows the maintenance of the 14% bonus at the Center antipoison

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Quebec allows the maintenance of the 14% bonus at the Poison Control Center

Toxic products. (File photo)

The Ministry of Health will finally authorize the maintenance of the 14% salary bonus granted to nurses at the Center antipoison du Québec .

This critical care bonus was paid by the CIUSSS of the Capitale-Nationale to the twenty nurses specializing in toxicology employed by the Centre. Although it did not appear in the collective agreements, this bonus had been granted for about ten years.

Last August, the Ministry of Health demanded an end to this practice, the premium being deemed non-compliant. The deadline was set for March 31. It was the second attempt by the Quebec government to withdraw the bonus, after the first time five years ago.

After two public appearances by the medical director of the Center antipoison du Québec, in January and this week, Quebec finally allows the CIUSSS to pay the bonus to nursing staff.

< p class="e-p">The CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale confirms that following the work carried out with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, an administrative measure may be applied to allow a compliant practice and the related premiums. relate, can we read in a statement from the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale.

The Quebec Poison Control Center handled more than 50,000 calls in 2021.

The Quebec Poison Control Center will be placed in another administrative category in which the critical care premium can be paid by the CIUSSS. This bonus is normally reserved for units like intensive care and emergency, or services like the Quebec medical evacuation program.

According to our information, one of the fears of Quebec, with the Poison Control Center, was to create a precedent and thus push other sub-groups of the network to put pressure. The government also explained the withdrawal of the bonus by a concern for fairness through the nursing profession.

The solution chosen, permanent, will maintain the premium in its entirety while recognizing the contribution to the front line and the urgency of the interventions of the Anti-Poison Center.

Associations representing emergency physicians and nurses supported the Poison Control Center in its steps to maintain the salary bonus.

The Center antipoison du Québec, although under the direction of the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale, is a provincial service. In 2021, no less than 50,945 cases were sent there, 90% of which were handled by nursing staff, 13,999 of which were in assistance to healthcare settings.

On the some 36,000 calls from the public, fewer than 4,000 resulted in an emergency room visit across the province.

Among its performance criteria, the Center antipoison du Québec must respond to 80% of calls in less than 30 seconds.

Dr. Maude St-Onge, medical director of the Center antipoison du Québec, feared an exodus of her highly specialized staff if the bonus were to be lost. Of the 22 nurses currently employed, at least two had announced their departures and 18 had applied for other positions in the network.

Nurses at the Center are trained in-house for nearly a year, due to the lack of toxicology training available in Canada. Here nurses receive valuable information about various drugs, mushrooms, plants and other substances. Training new ones while avoiding service disruptions would have been difficult to achieve, according to Dr. St-Onge.

Maintaining the bonus will, according to her, make it possible to limit the damage and retain more employees. We hope to get them back. Certainly, recognizing their particular expertise will boost the morale of the troops, reacted Dr. St-Onge on Tuesday afternoon.

Dre Maude St-Onge.

Interpelled by Dr. St-Onge directly in a letter sent on Monday, the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, was also delighted with the outcome.

We have said it from the start, the nurses at the Poison Control Center are doing an exceptional job and we want to keep this expertise, reacted his cabinet in writing. It is precisely for this reason that we asked the ministry and the CIUSSS to find a lasting solution to achieve this.

In addition to Mr. Dubé, the letter from Dr. St-Onge was also addressed to Prime Minister François Legault.