COVID-19: “guardian angels” are fed up with intransigent managers

Health network social workers, “guardian angels” who continue to work with vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis, feel that they are not sufficiently protected against the virus and are fed up with the managers who favor “the hard line”.
In an email obtained by Le Soleil and sent Wednesday evening to members of the Quebec Order of Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists, the president, Guylaine Ouimette, indicates that she had a telephone interview with the minister on Wednesday evening Health and Social Services representative, Lionel Carmant. She told him about “recurring problems” experienced by social workers during this period of crisis.

They deplore in particular the absence of health measures and personal protection, the telework mostly refused, the maintenance of home visits and team meetings maintained “regardless of social distancing” and the absence of guidelines for pregnant women and people who have other medical conditions.

“Some managers seem to favor the hard line, productivity at all costs, statistics, the reduction of waiting lists… whatever the context of the crisis. Business as usual would be the watchword in several sectors of activity ”.

In her message, Ms. Ouimette said that the Order had received hundreds of emails from its members and noted that “there is a lot of concern and insecurity” among social workers in several services of the health network, practically in all regions of Quebec.

She pointed out that she reminded Minister Carmant that social workers are officially among the employees of the health network who provide priority health care and social services recognized by the government decree adopted on March 24 – the “guardian angels” whose spoke Prime Minister François Legault.

“Yet you feel neglected, even forgotten. You need a clear signal from them, actions and decisions that also protect you and, I would even say, in the first place, ”wrote Guylaine Ouimette to his members.

Ms. Ouimette indicates in her email that she has proposed a series of short-term solutions to Minister Carmant. Among other things, she suggests increasing the cleaning and disinfection of workspaces and increasing personal protection with gloves, masks, and Purell. She also asked to limit the number of people per office to two and to avoid home visits “unless absolutely necessary and, when this is the case, offer protective equipment”.

The President of the Order also wants managers to authorize and organize telecommuting by Facetime, Skype, etc. or other means and avoid social workers visiting the home “unless absolutely necessary and, when this is the case, offer protective equipment”.

More generally, Ms. Ouimette also asks the ministry to target the list of priority services “in order to meet the most urgent needs of the population”.

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