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CVA Priority Operations => Operation Sacred Obligation - OSO => Topic started by: Sylvain Chartrand CD on April 28, 2016, 03:19:43 PM

Post by: Sylvain Chartrand CD on April 28, 2016, 03:19:43 PM



To begin with, let me fill you in on my meeting last week with Line Robillard, the Commissioner of Complaints (aka Ombudsman) for the West Island Ciusss, to whom you said I should first present my concerns. Ms. Robillard impressed me as energetic, efficient, and, (in her own words, "strictly by-the-book") dedicated to her task. That task,  she described to me, was safeguarding the interests of the individual Veterans at Ste. Anne's Hospital, in full accordance with all the prescribed Provincial protocols, and also, where pertinent, in keeping with the conditions pertaining to the Veterans per se,  as delineated in the joint Federal-Provincial  "Terms of Agreement" underlying the recent transfer of the Facility.

Ms. Robillard took great pains to emphasize that she would thoroughly and fairly investigate and process every INDIVIDUAL's  bona fide complaint she may receive, PROVIDED. that (and only if)  it is submitted by the actual complainant or his/her legally determined representative, and that it is specific in all respects as to the detailed nature of the complaint,   date, time and place of occurrence , and any and all (named) personnel involved. Furthermore, she made it quite clear to me that I could not submit any complaint on behalf of others, nor would her mandate allow her to consider any complaints, comments or inquiries I would wish to submit, regarding more generalized policies or practices which I might question as to their validity, justifiability, and/or fidelity, let alone effectiveness, in relation to the Transfer Agreement.

That said, it is quite apparent that she can be of help to me only if I personally complain, (with full documentation), about being served cold toast,having the wrong type or size of diapers, or other such momentous malfeasances, but she must preclude any references by me  to fellow- Veterans (cognizant, communicative, or not), let alone any and all criticisms I might wish to voice of the system,it's protocols and procedures.

Which, perforce, leads me back to you, , Michel, as the next highest superior officer in my request for "Redress of Grievances", in your capacity as a VAC representative on the Transition Committee. Unfortunately, based on some of your candid comments, I now have the strong impression that you, yourself, have deep doubts as to the efficacy of that body, in dealing with any matters of substance that may matter to the. "Band of Bothers"(sic) at Ste. Annes.

Were I  unable to receive a satisfactory solution at that level,I. could, theoretically and in a more perfect world, request to be "paraded" further up the chain of command, through the Deputy Minister and Minister of Veterans Affairs, to the Prime Minister, Governor General, and, ultimately, Her Majesty, the Queen. But I doubt my life-span will accommodate such a painful and prolonged procedure.

I have, as you requested begun to keep something resembling notes of specific incidents to report to you, but I have been so disheartened and discouraged by what has been going on and going wrong at Ste. Anne's, day in and day out, that it has been like off-season TV...watching the same old reruns of reruns, over and over again, ad nauseam and (I dread to think) ad infinitum.

The core contamination  is consistently concentrated within the problems plaguing the personnel performance, not only qualitatively,  in terms of lack of training and experience as heretofore reported, but also quantitatively, reflecting increasingly erratic and unreliable attendance at work, and resulting in excessive absenteeism. Not only is virtually  every shift on every floor on every day short of staff  (nurses and orderlies), but the designated "Replacement Unit", charged with filling such vacancies on  short notice , is notably too incapable, too disorganized and too confused in communications to get it right; and instead of showing some improvement with the passage of time, the reverse appears to be the case.

I have personally witnessed porters pressed into service as orderlies, clinic staff seconded to the cafeteria to hand out bibs and carry food trays, a receptionist/secretary  assigned to serve the afternoon coffee and cookies in the Rendezvous area, and other such disparate and desperate measures taken to fill the voids. There is hardly a day goes by when I am not attended  by new and unfamiliar faces among the floor staff, on every shift.  The main cause of this bedlam (other than inefficiency and incompetence),  might well lie in the palpable Provincial policy of hiring two part-time employees to fill almost every previously full-time position (presumably to cut costs re pensions, insurance, sick days, vacations, etc.), thus necessitating such staff to take on a second, or even a third part-time job in order to survive. Consequently, more often than not, when the "Replacement Unit" is eventually informed of a staff shortage and calls around frantically to fill it, most of their prospects are unavailable,if not unwilling, as they are otherwise engaged. Their next approach is to 'buttonhole' nurses and/or orderlies already on duty, and not-so-subtly pressure them into  "doing a double"( i.e., back-to-back shifts, which call for overtime pay, thus erasing some of the cost-cutting benefits for which this peculiar (part-timer)  policy was, I am convinced,  primarily promoted).

You can well imagine the effects upon the employees of such shenanigans, but what is of paramount importance is the collateral and deleterious damage done to the Veterans who, in a symbiotic relationship rely on this overworked, frazzled, resentful,remorseful  ever- shifting  body of employees to care for them. Fatigue, frustration and uncertainty take their terrific toll upon the staff, and this inevitably ricochets onto the Vets whose scheduled routines are often suddenly altered,coupled with strange new faces and voices intruding upon their comfort zones, and too often causing ,anxiety,trepidation, and even suspicion. I clearly recall when, under the aegis of VAC, serious multi-discipline evaluations  (and misgivings)  on the part of staff,  preceded any decision to move a patient from one floor or ward to another, lest he/she become too confused or even paranoid, and thus incur physical and/or mental health setbacks. No such consideration appears to be part of the present protocol, permitting such frequent, sudden unannounced staff changes to invade the space and the sense of security so vital to our Veterans, particularly the more fragile  and fearful among us.

I am fully aware that Veterans Affairs Canada currently has a great many items of intense importance on its plate, to be (in)digested, and that, viewing the larger scene, we three hundred -plus Vets at Ste. Anne's are but a pimple on VAC's butt, but to those of us whose lives are confronted with such possible disruptions  (notwithstanding the multiple mouthing of the misleading mantra of "seamless transition"), that  pimple could easily come to a boil, and the consequences could readily infect the remainder of our days, if not properly,  promptly nd proactively lanced by those who are morally and ultimately responsible for our good and welfare, and under whose flag we served and sacrificed.

Now , not later, is the time for our sworn protectors to "MAN UP" !