Friday, December 14, 2018

800 Canadian doctors protest pay raises, say they make too much money

  • News Desk,
    Published: 2018-03-11 10:44:11 BdST

Photo: CTV News

Over 800 Canadian doctors, medical specialists and students have signed a petition asking for their own pay raises be reallocated to help nurses and patients in need, reports Newsweek.

“We, Quebec doctors who believe in a strong public system, oppose the recent salary increases negotiated by our medical federations,” reads the open letter drafted in French by Médecins québécois pour le régime public, a group of doctors and medical students who support public healthcare.

As of Sunday morning the letter had 842 signatories.

 “These increases are all the more shocking because our nurses, clerks and other professionals face very difficult working conditions, while our patients live with the lack of access to required services because of the drastic cuts in recent years and the centralization of power in the Ministry of Health,” the letter said. “The only thing that seems to be immune to the cuts is our remuneration.”

"We, Quebec doctors, are asking that the salary increases granted to physicians be cancelled and that the resources of the system be better distributed for the good of the health care workers and to provide health services worthy to the people of Quebec,” the letter said.

The doctors say that there must be a better way to promote public health and meet the needs of the system without pushing workers to the edge.

The petition comes follows a recent sit-in protest held by nurses to protest working conditions.

Earlier this year one Quebecois nurse wrote on Facebook that she had been caring for as many as 76 patients during an exhausting shift, The Guardian reports.

“I’m ashamed of the poor quality of care that I’m delivering as best I can. My healthcare system is sick and dying,” she wrote.

Stress and back pain from the shifts was making it difficult to sleep and she dreaded going back to work, she said.

“I don’t think I’m the only one who feels crushed by the reality of nursing,” she wrote. The post has since been shared over 55,000 times.

A report from the Canadian institute for Health Information states that the average Canadian physician earned $260,924 in 2016, not accounting for overhead costs.

“It’s a tough stand to take,” Isabelle Leblanc, the president of the group behind the letter, told The Guardian. “Some people find it difficult to understand why we would do something like this, but at this point for us, it’s what makes sense.”

“If you ask physicians in the street, most will tell you that they would rather have more support and have a good working environment and have other professionals to refer their patients to, rather than having more money.”

It is the third time the group has called for cuts to pay raises, but it is the first time the petition has gotten such an enthusiastic response, Leblanc said.