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Montreal paramedics protest new overtime protocols

Ambulances are parked in downtown Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (Joe Lofaro/CTV News) Ambulances are parked in downtown Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (Joe Lofaro/CTV News)
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Paramedics in the Montreal area held a protest Monday to denounce new ministerial protocols that come into effect Tuesday.

Some of the Urgences-santé employees even showed up on their day off to protest. The new directive can force overtime on a paramedic even at the tail end of their shift.

Paramedics say they already do overtime when there’s a need, but they worry this decree will lead to more staff burnout.

"You’re on your third 12-hour shift and you get picked up for a call even at the moment when you have pulled into the station," said Hal Newman, a retired paramedic, in an interview with CTV News.

"You are mentally exhausted and you're physically exhausted; it’s a hell of a combination. Paramedics aren’t alone in this. We are running into this phenomenon in ERs, on hospital wards, we see it with nurses, with physicians … none of us wants to be treated by and cared for by someone who is just absolutely exhausted."

The FSSS-CSN union met with Urgences-santé Monday for several hours to voice their concerns.

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