Vitalité Health Network appears before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts

Vitalité Health Network, Thursday, June 20, 2024 – Vitalité Health Network is appearing before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on Thursday, June 20, 2024, to respond to the Auditor General's report regarding contracts with travel nurse agencies.

Tom Soucy, président du conseil d’administration, et Dre France Desrosiers, présidente-directrice générale du Réseau, ont répondu aux questions des députés.

Tom Soucy, Chairperson, and Dr. France Desrosiers, President and CEO.

The committee meeting is an opportunity for the Leadership Team not only to answer members' questions, but also to explain how the use of travel nurses made it possible to meet real needs and stabilize essential health services for the population.

“The evaluation of staffing needs was supported by data, projections and an in-depth risk analysis,” said Dr. France Desrosiers, President and CEO of Vitalité Health Network.

“While the level of billing for these services must be questioned, we must not forget that travel staff has helped ensure the safety of our patients and been a source of relief for many teams weakened by the pandemic and the labour shortage,” she stressed.

“We now need to take the right lessons from this unprecedented situation in the history of health care. It is urgent that we work together to reduce the pressure on our hospitals and protect our public health care system through effective regulation. The urgency is even more pressing as Vitalité Health Network faces more limited recruitment opportunities, a high demand for bilingual health care professionals, an older patient population more affected by chronic health issues, and a higher number of alternate level of care patients in its hospitals,” added Dr. Desrosiers.

Tom Soucy, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Vitalité Health Network, noted that the auditor's work has made it possible to examine possible improvements to the processes surrounding contract management and to strengthen the control measures already in place.
“The use of agency staff is a practice that arose out of a crisis situation that needed to be better managed and it warranted an in-depth examination. It is reassuring to see that most of the recommendations have already been implemented,” said Mr. Soucy.

Vitalité Health Network is committed to reducing its reliance on staffing agencies and is continuing to implement a phase-out plan aimed at gradually eliminating the use of travel staff by 2026.

In addition, a solid recruitment and retention strategy has been implemented and is already bearing fruit, as the curves for new hires versus departures have reversed since 2022, with a higher and growing number of new hires.