Master Agreement Negotiations
Physicians Provide Valuable Input
Thank you to all PEI physicians who provided as the Negotiations Team prepared for upcoming bargaining. Over the past six months, the Negotiations Team:
- Heard from 182 members through an online negotiations survey
- Met with about 75 members at four community round-table discussions
- Hosted 20 or so early-career physicians at a drop-in negotiations meeting
- Received 50+ submissions through the Negotiations Funding Form request process
This feedback helped the team to understand the issues and opportunities physicians see day-to-day and approach negotiations with a view to how the Master Agreement can have the greatest impact on improving the medical profession and patient care.
The themes, through all feedback channels remained fairly consistent. They were:
- Workforce: the physician workforce is fragile and unsustainable, burn-out is real, and an inflexible system is an issue. You want a healthier work environment and physician workforce.
- Primary care needs attention: family doctors and specialists alike flagged the need to improve access to primary care services to address growing demands and complexity.
- Recruitment: recruitment challenges are significant; there is no give in the system and prolonged vacancies create unsustainable demands on existing workforce
- Innovation: the Master Agreement has the potential to enable better use of technology and innovative care models.
- Compensation: we need to be competitive with other provinces to support recruitment and retention efforts and we need to ensure groups within the province are treated fairly.
Environmental Scan & Input Gathering
- Learning from other provinces and how they have used their Master Agreements to improve patient care, support the profession and promote recruiting to their province.
- Learning from PEI physicians. This included a membership survey, roundtable meetings and an online feedback form.
- Thinking about the health-care system broadly and considering how the Master Agreement can advance big system issues such as improved access to primary care, the use of virtual care and reducing common workplace stressors for physicians.
By considering member priorities and understanding larger system issues, the Negotiations Committee identifies priorities. Consideration is given to the impact on improving patient care, advancing the profession as a whole and costing.
It is at this stage where MSPEI, government and Health PEI “come to the table” to discuss their problems, ideas and expectations. Using an interest-based negotiations approach, all parties strive to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement that will serve Island patients and the physician population and align with the values and priorities of Health PEI and government.
No agreement is final until PEI physicians say it so. Once the Negotiations Team feels it has reached the best possible deal it will present details of the potential tentative agreement to the Board of Directors. The Board will decide if it feels the agreement is suitable to present to the membership for a vote. With the Board of Directors endorsement, members will be asked to vote on the Tentative Agreement.
Formal discussions began in October 2019. It is difficult to predict the it will take to reach a Tentative Agreement. The Negotiations Team will do its best to keep members informed as negotiations progress.
Negotiations Communications Protocol
As with previous years, once the Negotiations Team enters formal talks, there will be little communications to members on the substance of these discussions. This is consistent with bargaining best practices and helps create an environment where both parties can talk freely without influence or even interference from interest-groups, media or other stakeholder groups.
Dr. Brad Brandon, Chair
Dr. Megan Armstrong
Dr. Larry Pan
Mr. Ron Pink, QC, External Negotiator
Lea Bryden, CEO
Tamzin Gillis, In-House Legal Counsel
Derek Law, Economics Advisor
Samantha Holmes, Director of Strategy and Communications
For more information, contact:
In-House Legal Counsel