May 22, 2020 – Message from Dr. Anthea Lafreniere, PARO President
Thank you to each and every one of you who is managing through the pandemic. We know from the survey that we launched just how much this has impacted your lives. We had the largest response in 24 hours to any survey that we have run in our 50 year history. The impact of the pandemic on our lives is profound:
- Over 40% have been redeployed to provide direct patient care.
- Redeployment means time away from rotations that are an important part of your training and increased stress about potential lengthening of training.
- Cancelled surgeries and procedures have had an impact on access to training opportunities.
- Many are working harder to cover gaps caused by colleagues being quarantined or infected with the virus.
- Over 45% indicated that their already long hours have increased with residents providing care across multiple sites and services.
- Over 70% of responding residents have either had vacation cancelled or do not feel like they can ask for vacation time during the pandemic.
If you haven’t had time to complete the survey that we distributed, please check your inbox, click the link provided, and tell us how the pandemic has impacted your life. If you can’t find your invitation to complete the survey, contact firstname.lastname@example.org we will send you the link again.
Your PARO representatives and our dedicated office staff continue to push for decisions that will have a positive impact on your life. Here are some updates that I want to share.
For our graduating colleagues who will be applying for a provisional license, we worked with the CPSO to change the form that supervisors need to complete. The new form is now consistent with the low-level nature of supervision that is required. We were able to get the CPSO to confirm that your Program Director or a Clinical Supervisor that you have worked with are now eligible to serve as your supervisor for the COVID-19 provisional license. We also worked collaboratively with the six Post-graduate Deans and I’m pleased to tell you that they are actively promoting that Program Directors and Clinical Supervisors take on this role in order to facilitate your streamlined transition to practice. We believe that we have removed the vast majority of impediments to your ability to obtain a license to transition to practice. If you are having issues, please let us know at email@example.com
We also heard from members starting subspecialty training this July and sitting their core specialty exams this fall who were told they were not eligible for a provisional license. After connecting with the CPSO, I am pleased to tell you that the CPSO has decided that, as long as you meet the criteria of the exam eligible candidates, you will be able to apply for a provisional license. Please note that for those specialties that require an additional year of training prior to certification, you will not be eligible to get a provisional license.
We heard from many graduating members that the thought of losing access to the University Library would be an impediment in preparing for the fall exams. We worked with the six Postgraduate Deans and I’m pleased to let you know that all exam-eligible candidates who are taking the exam in the fall will continue to have access to their University Library. Details about this extended access can be found on PARO’s COVID webpage.
We are continuing to actively advocate that residents in Ontario be treated the same as all other health care workers who are on the front line. You may have heard that British Columbia announced their pandemic pay program and that resident doctors have been included. We have made sure that the Ontario government is aware of this. We have successfully secured support and letters to the government from the Deans of Medicine of all six Ontario Medical Schools, the Canadian Medical Forum, representing the major national medical education organizations and the Ontario Hospital Association, representing our employers. We know that no one in Ontario has received pandemic pay yet. As recently as yesterday, government officials have indicated that they are still reviewing who will be eligible to receive pandemic pay. We also know that key officials in both the Minister of Health and the Premier’s Office are aware of why residents should be included. We are continuing to push daily on multiple levels for a favourable decision. Each day we re-evaluate where and how to make the right people understand just how valuable the contribution of residents is during the pandemic. Thank you again to everyone who filled out our recent survey. We know that the information you provided was invaluable and made an impression. If circumstances warrant, we may be asking all of you for additional help in ensuring that residents are treated fairly and recognized for the contribution that we are making.
Vacation and Extended Health Care Benefits
When we became aware that vacations were being cancelled and denied, we provided CAHO (our employer) with a proposal on how to manage cancelled vacation, including how to best reschedule vacation, when it might be appropriate to carry it over to the next academic year, and how it might be paid out. We continue to be in discussions with CAHO about this and have our next meeting scheduled for Monday May 25th.
PARO is aware that, because of social distancing, many of you have not been able to utilize your Extended Health Care benefits. We have also made a proposal to CAHO on how the benefits you are entitled to, but are unable to use, should be managed. I’ll provide more information as soon as we are able to.
Resident Doctors of Canada has developed a new one hour webinar that provides you with an overview of the primary tools from their Resiliency Curriculum. The webinar will take place on Zoom and will be facilitated by an RDoC peer trainer.
There will be two sessions. You can register online and receive more information.
Tuesday June 2 at 1900 hrs EDT – Register here
Tuesday June 16 at 1900 hrs EDT – Register here
If neither of those dates work for you, please check the Wellness Resourceson the RDoC COVID-19 webpage for future dates.