MAHCP Members meet with Manitoba's Minister of Health

Members of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals (MAHCP) gave presentations to the Minister on their occupations highlighting the unique and common challenges that each are facing.

Winnipeg (4 Oct. 2012) - Three members of the Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals (MAHCP) met with Health Minister Theresa Oswald and Assistant Deputy Minister Beth Beaupre. The MAHCP delegation included President Wendy Despins and Executive Director Lee Manning.

Each member gave a presentation to the Minister on their occupations, highlighting the unique and common challenges that each are facing.

President Despins provided the Minister with supplemental materials as follow-up on their previous meetings that discussed issues faced by Ultrasound Technologists. The two papers, “Addressing a 91% injury rate for ultrasound technologists – Health Sciences Association of British Columbia” and “Brief Ergonomic Review – Cardiac Ultrasound” by Carmel Murphy, MSc. CCPE June 2012.

Registered Dietitian (RD), Vanessa Hamilton spoke about the important role in sustaining and improving Manitobans' health that is played by dietitians. Ms. Hamilton stressed the importance of community development, health awareness and advocacy, and assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating programs that address health determinants.

Other points covered included; the epidemic of childhood obesity in Canada and the 48,000 Manitobans who rely on food banks every month. Ms. Hamilton stressed the extreme need for more dietitians, citing many settings where there is either limited or no access to dietitian services.

Colleen Bemister, a Registered Cardiology Technologist (RCT), raised concerns about the limited opportunities for training Cardiology Technologists in Canada. Low numbers of graduating students makes it more difficult to hire and retain sufficient numbers of graduates.

Ms. Bemister explained that the “absence of career laddering and diversity along with stagnant wages in our profession are causing our current technologists to return to school to pursue alternate careers”.  

But she felt that of even greater and more pressing concern are situations where unqualified staff are performing the work. Ms. Bemister presented results of a study conducted by the Department of Medicine, University Hospital of Alberta, “Multitasking and the technical quality of the electrocardiogram”.

The conclusions reached in the study were “multitasking has resulted in a high rate of unacceptable ECGs. There is a significant difference in the effectiveness and quality of ECG acquisition performed by ECG technologists and non-ECG technologists. Poorly acquired ECGs impede proper diagnosis for patients, subject the institution to potential medical legal consequences and add an unnecessary burden to the health care budget.”

President Despins reminded the Minister that these concerns have been raised in the past by MAHCP members, both EKG Technologists and non-EKG Technologists alike.  They provided the Minister with examples of varying patient outcomes and high duplication of services required to address them, when the tests were performed by non-EKG staff.

President Wendy Despins and Treasurer Bob Moroz reviewed with the Minister MAHCP’s recent survey, of both members and the public, and focus group results. The results, while not surprising, strongly affirmed the message that MAHCP has been raising with her.

President Despins told her that MAHCP would be publishing a more detailed report of the survey for the membership in the near future. Mr. Moroz and President Despins also discussed future changes at MAHCP and that the Union would be announcing a new president at the 42nd annual general meeting on October 11.

Minister Oswald again committed to ongoing meetings with MAHCP.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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