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Hospitals in the Outaouais left out of bonuses for medical imaging technologists

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The Quebec government is handing out bonuses to medical imaging technologists to keep them in their jobs, but they've left out two hospitals in the Outaouais and many don't understand why.

Marcel Chartrand has lived in the region for more than 30 years and is part of a watchdog group fighting to save Wakefield Memorial Hospital.

"The hospital cannot run without imaging services, important imaging services, up-to-date imaging services," he said.

Wakefield is one of two hospitals excluded from bonuses in the region with advocates arguing it pits hospital against hospital, with Ontario close by.

"We know there is a great proportion of Quebec residents that are just working in Ontario for better working conditions," said Jean Pigeon, SOS Outaouais spokeperson. "We need to offer this in our health care system."

The two-year agreement includes a significant bump. A lump sum of $22,000 for technologists in Papineau, Hull and Gatineau and a 10 per cent salary increase during the summer.

An $18,000 incentive was offered to hospital workers in Maniwaki, but workers in Wakefield and Shawville were not included.

The government did not respond to our request for comment before deadline.

"It's really unfair, it's unacceptable and we're asking the government of Quebec, to the Minister of Health, to give the same bonuses to all the technicians in every hospital in the Outaouais," said Marc Carrière, MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais

Advocates say the decision is having a ripple effect.

"Some doctors have decided to go elsewhere and decided to travel to other regions because there's not those resources made available for their profession," said Pigeon.

Leaving people like Chartrand fearing the worst and looking for a long term solution.

"It is serious, but we're determined to keep the hospital alive and to improve services, not just maintain [them]," he said.

Although the government did not respond to our request for comment, in a post on X, the Health Minister said the bonuses were a gesture to protect services in the region and the ministry is "continuing to monitor the situation." 

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