MRTs feel unrecognized as front-line workers during pandemic
LONDON, ONT. -- When the provincial government announced a pay increase of $4 an hour for front-line workers, the list was long, but one group not included has appealed to the government for the same recognition.
Paramedics, and RTs were initially excluded, but later added in a revision. One group who has appealed to the government for the same recognition is Medical Radiation Technologists (MRTs).
"We are in very close contact, we are lifting that patient up from the bed, we’re sliding a plate behind them. We are literally inches from their face," says Melanie Cadotte, a MRT at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital.
"It’s just hard to be in the operating room doing a case, and every person in the room is receiving ‘pandemic pay’; has been deemed as front-line, and we are not."
It is something that Greg Toffner has lobbied the government for. As president and CEO of the Ontario Association of Medical Radiation Sciences, he is a part of the daily response team call with other medical leaders.
"Upwards of 30 minutes or longer to perform a procedure where we have to touch the patient, we have to position the patient we have to prepare them for the procedure," says Toffner.
Often, Cadotte says, she is one of the first people to see a patient suspected to have COVID-19, as an X-ray of the patient's chest is necessary, and daily scans are routine. The exclusion from the list has been demoralizing.
"We want to be recognized that we are front-line, we don’t understand why we aren’t considered front-line with all the criteria out there. We fit everything they’ve put out there."
Toffner adds the work being done by MRTs is as crucial and hazardous as any other profession on the official list
"This is a 24/7 operation and our members are doing this 24/7. And it’s just appalling they aren’t recognizing that."
Cadotte says they have created petitions and written letters to Premier Doug Ford, but have not received an answer as to why they have been excluded.