Sat. May 21st, 2022

In September, Quebec announced it would offer bonuses of up to $ 18,000 to prevent nurses from leaving the public health system and luring some back

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MONTREAL-Quebec’s healthcare system has welcomed more than 1,000 full-time nurses since the government offered one-time bonuses of up to $ 18,000 to help fill critical network shortages during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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More than 700 part-time nurses have switched to full-time work, 56 nurses have retired and 231 new people have been hired from the private sector, Health Minister Christian Dube told reporters on Thursday. In all, he said 1,007 more full-time nurses have entered the health care system since the government announced bonuses in late September.

“Reinforcements are on the way,” Dube said, adding that another 1,900 people are negotiating with the province.

On September 23, the government announced that it had budgeted $ 1 billion in offering full-time nurses bonuses of up to $ 18,000 to prevent more of them from leaving the public health system and to entice those who remain to return. . The government had estimated that it lacked at least 4,000 full-time nurses.

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However, these bonuses only applied to fully vaccinated nurses. And Dube said Thursday that the government was sticking to a deadline for all health workers in the province to be vaccinated before Oct. 15 or be suspended without pay.

He said he would unveil contingency plans next week on how the government would prevent service disruptions if thousands of health workers were suspended.

About 25,000 health workers in the province are still not fully vaccinated, Dube said Thursday, adding that about 13,000 of them have not received a single dose of vaccine.

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The health minister stressed that there is still a week to go, but acknowledged that while the number of vaccinated workers is rising every day, they are not rising fast enough.

“Just yesterday, we vaccinated 300 people with a first dose in the health network,” Dube said. “I think we can go a lot faster because if we were more in the range of 500, 600, 700, yes, before October 15, we would have more with at least a first dose.”

Dube urged workers to get a first dose quickly and said no religious exemptions would be granted to them.

“There is no question of religion here,” Dube said when asked if the province would follow the federal government, which has said federal employees could benefit from religious exemptions from the vaccination mandate.

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“We can understand the federal position, it’s their choice, but in our case there are no exceptions,” Dube said.

Dube urged workers to consider other consequences of being suspended, including losing seniority and the impact on their pensions.

Meanwhile, health officials reported 624 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and a further five deaths are attributed to the new coronavirus. COVID-19-related hospital admissions increased by three to 297 after 28 people were admitted to the hospital and 25 were discharged the day before. Of those in the hospital, 88 were on intensive care, a decrease of two.

According to the province’s public health institute, 89.7 percent of Quebecers aged 12 and older have received at least one dose, of which 86.1 percent are considered adequately vaccinated. Quebec has 5,121 active reported COVID-19 cases.

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