TORONTO – The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is cautiously optimistic that the health-care funding increase announced in the provincial budget may begin to improve quality patient care.
“This increase is a good start,” says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. “Our hospitals have been starved of funding for years, and our patients have paid the price as hospitals slashed more than 1,600 RN positions – to dangerously low levels. We need multi-year, stable funding for our hospitals, and our patients need to see the RN cuts halted now, and new funding invested in RN care that our patients need and deserve.”
Haslam-Stroud says that in addition to hiring more hospital RNs, funding is needed for a multi-year nursing human resources plan with a view to bringing Ontario’s RN-to-population ratio up to the average of the rest of the country. Currently, Ontario has the lowest RN-to-population ratio in the country.
“We are pleased at the government’s announcement of a pharmacare program for Ontarians aged 24 years and younger, beginning next January. Our patients need to see the investments in home care, community care and long-term care used to bring care levels up for our patients,” notes Haslam-Stroud. “Ontarians in long-term care need and deserve a minimum of four hours of care per resident per day, including RN care. ONA will engage with government around new standards of the expert panel on public health to ensure the foundations of our health-care system remain strong.”
“Nurses know that the province needs to address workplace violence in a meaningful way, investing in measures to stop the violence,” she said. “We expect the government to correct its oversight that excludes RNs from PTSD presumptive legislation. Nurses are first responders and deserve to be recognized as such.”
ONA is the union representing 64,000 registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, family health teams, community health centres, the community, clinics and industry.