Doctors Plead for Pay Raises to Stop Before It's Too Late

Hard-working nurses deserve it more, they say
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2018 11:50 AM CST
The entrance to the Sacre-Coeur Hospital is shown in Montreal, Tuesday, March 17, 2009. Actress Natasha Richardson was hospitalized after falling during a private lesson on a beginners trail at the famed...   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)
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(Newser) – Many doctors in Quebec are upset about pay raises—that is, about having them at all. With nurses complaining about their workload, nearly 740 doctors, medical students, and residents in the Canadian province are petitioning to reject pay raises and have the money given to nurses, the New York Times reports. "The system has to change—it will not survive much longer," says Isabelle Leblanc, a Montreal physician who helped organize the petition. "For a long time the system has revolved around physicians and hospitals." The doctors' movement gained traction this year when angry nurses told the media about six-day workweeks, pay cuts, and extra hours.

"We have no life," a 36-year-old nurse with three children tells the National Post. "One day off in a week, and they call us four times to come in for extra work. I've had enough." Doctors, meanwhile, have seen their income rise by an average of about $125,000 to $315,000, with more raises guaranteed until 2023. But the petition's fate is unclear, with support coming from a minority of doctors and government officials having a possible conflict of interest—after all, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is a neurosurgeon and Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is a radiologist. Barrette, however, says he's open to changes: "If [doctors] feel they’re overpaid, they can leave the money on the table," he tells the Montreal Gazette. "I guarantee that I can make good use of it."

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