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« on: February 21, 2016, 09:45:20 AM »

The (above) powerful expression of pure pessimism and desperate despondency, expressed in  Shakespeare's soliloquy by Macbeth, could hardly be more apt, as applied to the current confluence of events unfolding at Ste. Anne's (Veterans) Hospital.

As is well and sadly known by all, within less than six weeks, come April 1st (aka April Fool's Day), the Federal Ministry of Veterans Affairs will, after several years of negotiated concessions, transfer Ste. Anne's Hospital from its almost one hundred year history as a Veterans' Hospital, to that of what I fear will be just one more geriatric garage in the network of such institutions already operated by Quebec's Provincial Department of Health (etc.),  conducted under Minister Barrette's baton.

Be that as it may, Veterans Affairs Canada,in order to allay the palpable fears and disquietude experienced by many of the aged and venerable, yet vulnerable Veterans, signed a "Transfer Agreement" with the Province, which is purported to contain, among other related terms and conditions, the two most basic, underlying and repeatedly reiterated pledges vowed, in effect,  by Ottawa: first, that the pre-existing (high) standard and level of care will be maintained and sustained without alteration or diminution ;  and second, that all such services would be offered and provided in the veteran's language of choice.

Which now brings me back to Macbeth's moribund mouthings. Here it is, even before the transfer tsunami is scheduled to overcome us, and those two fundamental, principal promises are even now being (dis)honoured in the breach, on a regular, daily basis, as a precursor of the "TOMORROWS" to come. The two most glaring manifestations of such violations are as follows :
1. In order to try and fill the severe staff shortages caused and still occurring due to the many retirements, resignations and so-called "sick" leaves, a  massive recruitment/ hiring program is now underway, and the calibre, quality and experience of many (or perhaps most) of the new employees with whom I have personally dealt, are  seriously and noticeably well below par.
For some, this is their first job in an institution . Others have never had to  deal with any geriatric patients.  And for still others, this is their FIRST JOB EVER,  having just recently completed their schooling. Furthermore, all newly hired orderlies ( without which staff -of- life, no hospital could possibly function), are given an in-house orientation/training period of only one day shift and one night shift, which, I am told,  is the Provincial protocol, as differentiated from the former Federal five-day mandatory orientation period.

I am familiar and agree with the old saw that "everybody has to start somewhere", but what little I have described above,  certainly does not and cannot possibly or even remotely  square with VAC's first promise to preserve and safeguard our ( until recently) existing standard/level of service and treatment.

2. As to providing the required services in one's language of choice, that is the second big breach in the promises proferred. My own one-man, on one wing of one floor experience with this vanguard of new orderlies, is that the greatest number speak ONLY FRENCH, whereas about fifty percent of our Veteran-patients are Anglophones. I deem myself fortunate , in that I can, with some effort, communicate, to a limited but workable degree, in some form of fractured French. But what of those other veterans who understand and speak only English?  And how about those poor comrades of mine who cannot speak at  all , but who can still hear, but comprehend  only English, when spoken to ?  I place no blame whatsoever on the new employees and those to follow, as Quebec apparently does not require a knowledge of  English  for certification, but I do point an accusatory finger at the still-present Hospital senior administrative personnel for their seeming indifference to this profound problem, and to Veterans Affairs Canada for being so unaware of the already premature erosion of their virtually sacred commitment to their helpless charges, in the few precious years remaining.

If the two foremost and fundamental vows are already being shattered, a priori, I dread to voice what I am convinced what will be the fate of the many  remaining and vital   promises embedded in the so-called "Agreement". There does exist a joint Federal-Provincial "Transition Committee" , but what influence it may have or power to exert on behalf of the "Vanishing Veterans" is evidently very questionable.

Many among us are  most apprehensive  of "TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW...", having already had a foretaste, today, of what lies ahead.

Wolf William Solkin
Ste. Anne's Hospital
Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec
« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 03:18:19 PM by Sylvain Chartrand CD ResF »