Pinel In­sti­tute cutting 37 so­cio-ther­a­pist jobs

Re-ed­u­ca­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion are be­ing un­der­mined, union claims

Montreal Gazette - - CITY -

Mon­treal’s Philippe-Pinel In­sti­tute has abol­ished 37 posts held by so­cio-ther­a­pists, who are tasked with the re-ed­u­ca­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of pa­tients.

The union rep­re­sent­ing the psy­chi­atric hospi­tal’s 700 em­ploy­ees — 200 of them so­cio-ther­a­pists — warned last week they had heard that the cuts were com­ing, and re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion late Thurs­day that the jobs would be elim­i­nated.

The re­duc­tions mean that on week­days the num­ber of so­cio-ther­a­pists will drop from three to two per ward, and on week­ends, one in­stead of two.

Mean­while, the num­ber of nurses and se­cu­rity per­son­nel will be in­creased.

“All the staffing struc­tures else­where at the In­sti­tute have been in­creased,” said union pres­i­dent Syl­vain Lemieux. “There have been 37 so­cio-ther­a­pist po­si­tions cut but the num­ber of (se­cu­rity) agent jobs have been in­creased by 37.

“So, it’s re-ed­u­ca­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion that are get­ting un­der­mined. And while they’re be­ing re­placed by peo­ple who en­sure se­cu­rity — some­thing im­por­tant — that can’t re­place what the ... so­cio-ther­a­pists are do­ing.”

Lemieux was more pleased with the in­crease in nurs­ing staff, say­ing it was needed.

Man­age­ment at the In­sti­tute said last week that its “con­sol­i­da­tion” of re­sources will re­sult in “an im­prove­ment in the care and ser­vices of­fered to pa­tients.”

How­ever Lemieux said he’s puz­zled by the staff cuts com­ing at a time when the hospi­tal — which pro­vides men­tal health care for pa­tients who are vi­o­lent, ag­gres­sive and have com­mit­ted crim­i­nal acts — re­cently saw a $12-mil­lion in­crease in its fi­nanc­ing.

The union hopes Que­bec Health Min­is­ter Danielle McCann will re­think the staff cuts be­fore they are car­ried out in April.

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