Critical shortage of Radiological Technologists risks patient care

In light of ongoing short-staffing, unfilled vacancies and upcoming leaves among medical radiation technologists and nuclear medicine technologists, CUPE is calling for an immediate intervention from the Minister of Health to ensure staffing can be secured to avoid disruptions to diagnostic care.

“For over a decade, we have been sounding the alarm on behalf of our members that provide a vital service in the continuum of care,” said Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE 5430 and a nuclear medicine technologist. “The government sat on their hands instead of addressing the issue. Now, as waitlists grow, we are at risk of more disruptions of services and communities on bypass for critical care at a time when wait lists are as long as ever.”

Health care providers are especially concerned about the situation at the Pasqua Hospital, where the combination of ongoing vacancies and two upcoming parental leaves will leave the facility with just two of six full time MRT positions filled.

“It is worrying that we are so short staffed at one of our major trauma centers that we may be going on bypass,” added Jalloh. “It is also concerning that we are so close to the opening of the new Urgent Care Centre, but there is a lack of staff in existing positions already.”

There are currently 1,544 Saskatchewan residents on the wait list who have waited more than 90 days for a CT scan. Media reports have highlighted the challenges breast cancer survivors are facing getting urgent testing that could help avoid cancer recurrence or fatal outcomes.

CUPE 5430 represents medical technologists in a variety of specialties, including MRTs. Medical Radiological Technologists produce images of body parts and systems using X-ray, computed tomography (CT), and breast imaging equipment.

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