During the Federal election voters may have got the idea the entire health system was run by doctors and nurses.
Even the NDP, normally more attuned to health care issues, pounded the idea that they were the party that was going to put more doctors and nurses to work across Canada – and do it now.
What was missing from the debate was the fact that health care is provided by hundreds of professions that are essential to a modern health team. Some of these professions – such as speech language pathologists – are in very short supply. It takes on average a year to recruit a speech language pathologist in this province.
Out west they refer to this large group of workers as “health sciences professionals.” Out East they are called “allied health professionals.” Here we just like to call them “hospital professionals.”
About six months ago we became aware of a commercial being run in British Columbia that highlighted the role of these professionals in the modern health team. Produced by the Health Sciences Association of BC – one of our sister affiliates in the National Union – the funny commercial shows a scene in which a man lies unconscious on the floor of a restaurant. The woman beside him asks if there is a doctor in the house. The doctor soon asks if there is an x-ray technologist present? A moment later, looking at an x-ray, he asks if there is a respiratory therapist in the restaurant? As each profession shows up in their evening clothes, they have their equipment with them. The commercial concludes by reminding us that modern health care relies on modern solutions.
OPSEU’s Hospital Professionals Division contacted HSA-BC and arranged a co-sponsorship of the ad to bring it to television screens in Ontario.
The ad will be showing from July 20 to August 16 on CBC stations across Ontario as well as on CP24.
Drawing attention to these professions is more than a matter of recognition. As the Federal election shows, public policy is driven as much by perception as reality. While Ontario has developed a number of initiatives to support the nursing profession – including a target for full-time nursing and a nursing graduate initiative, there are no parallel initiatives for other health care professionals facing similar circumstances.
With an election on the horizon this October, it is important for OPSEU to put these professionals on the politician’s radar.
Polling has shown a greater recognition of these professionals both east and west. It’s clearly time to increase their profile in the center of Canada too.
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Due to posting restrictions with the ACTRA contract, we are unable to show the OPSEU/HSA-BC version of the ad on-line. However, the original HSA-BC version of the ad is available to be viewed on YouTube. See below.