A modern healthcare system cannot function without professional medical radiation technologists practicing in medical imaging and radiation therapy. With COVID-19 and all the pressures it puts on MRTs and the rest of the healthcare system, we are working hard to address issues, both new and pre-dating the virus, through advocacy and dialogue with decision makers that will make a difference to MRTs.
PPE for MRTs during the COVID-19 crisis
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an issue of concern for healthcare professionals across Canada in all professions during this crisis. With widespread shortages, came reports directly to CAMRT from MRTs having difficulty accessing PPE in their institutions and facilities.
In response to these reports from members, CAMRT has been advocating on your behalf. On Friday April 3, CAMRT released a position paper outlining ts stance on access to PPE based on the best evidence available.
Following publication of the position, CAMRT has been addressing the shortage of PPE for MRTs and the concern that MRTs are not being correctly identified as frontline workers in this crisis directly with people in positions of influence in the healthcare and public health systems.
To help gather concrete information and direct experiences of frontline MRTs, CAMRT conducted a short survey on access to PPE and the distribution to MRTs on the front lines of the COVID-19 effort. Thanks to the thousands of you that responded, the information you shared with us is proving invaluable in the advocacy we are undertaking on your behalf. Top-line analysis of the survey can be found below, a more comprehensive analysis of the subjective comments received and provincial breakdowns will be posted when available.
We thank you all for sharing this information from the front lines with us. It is invaluable to us when advocating on your behalf, and also to the agencies with which we are collaborating with on a response.
Essential role of MRTs in the Healthcare System
Our 2019-21 Strategic Plan identified the need to build beyond the vital awareness work we do through MRT Week and the national Image of Care campaign.Even before the coronavirus hit our shores, CAMRT had built plans for a modern, accessible and advocacy friendly MRT awareness campaign, and was beginning its implementation.
As we come across other issues, whether it be access to PPE or temporary pandemic pay, we are noting an increased need for this work. And, as such we are ramping it up.
National Post Insert article (March 27, 2020) – Online version (launched March 25, 2020)
Resumption of Clinical Services
CAMRT is working closely with the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) and other medical professions to study the effects that COVID-19 and the associated public health restrictions and service scalebacks had on medical imaging services across the country. By understanding the effects, it is the goal of the collaborative to also bring forward concrete recommendations for governments and healthcare decision makers to follow as they seek to resume and scale back up to a previous level of service.
A second report of this strategic collaboration was released in October, examined data from different organizations relating to the resumption of service, the ongoing effect of the initial pandemic closures and subsequent slowdowns on waitlists and the resiliency of radiology services in general, as well as proposed solutions for 2020 and beyond.
A first report of this strategic collaboration was released in May, discussing the effects of the pandemic on radiology services, and the views established at that time as to how to resume radiological services.
COVID-19 Study – Impacts on MRTs and Patients
CAMRT is conducting a survey with department managers across Canada to collect information on how the COVID 19 virus is affecting MRTs, departmental policy, departmental workload and most importantly patient care.
The data collected will be summarized and provided to managers and government agencies in a timely manner. CAMRT will use the information to conduct advocacy efforts to support the needs of medical imaging and radiation therapy services during and after the pandemic.
Working with other professions on issues of common concern
We are also working closely through our networks and contacts share best practices with and from other healthcare professional groups and to assist governments across Canada with advice to sustain the full healthcare system in this exceptional time.
HEAL has been meeting with the staff of the Federal Minister of Health on a regular (weekly at first, and now bi-weekly) basis since the onset of the pandemic. CAMRT, as a member of HEAL has been able to convey information about the MRT profession garnered through our own work (HHR studies, member surveys) and join other healthcare professions in seeking strategic assistance from the federal government (e.g., ensuring national PPE stores and manufacture).
Our broad stakeholder group (HEAL) submitted letters to the Federal Health Minister and to the leadership of the Public Health Agency of Canada last week. A meeting with the Health Minister’s office took place on March 23, where ideas brought forward from all professional groups were addressed. Key issues identified affecting all stakeholders include the availability and need for personal protective equipment for healthcare professionals; consideration for the mental health effects this crisis is having now (and will have in the future) for healthcare professionals; the removal of structural barriers to new issues like retired workers rejoining the workforce and professionals crossing jurisdictions; to name a few.
Your ideas for advocacy
We have identified several emerging areas for advocacy relating to this new reality. But we are always looking for issues from you, the members. If you have an issue you think we should be advocating on, please contact our advocacy department.