McGuinty government must ensure LHIN legislation doesn’t invite more privatization of health care
TORONTO, Feb. 3, 2006 – The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), in a presentation before the standing committee on social policy on Monday will call for changes to Bill 36 – the Local Health Systems Integration Act – because it is flawed and will not achieve the kind of health-care transformation the government is seeking.
“While RNAO continues to support the concept of LHINs and their mandate to breakdown silos between health-care providers, the reality is the legislation will result in an expansion of for-profit services in our health-care system,” says RNAO president-elect Mary Ferguson-Paré.
RNAO believes Bill 36 must contain specific language which not only encourages but requires LHINs and the health minister to preserve and expand public, not-for-profit delivery of health care. Without such amendments, we believe the legislation will be a breeding ground for more for-profit delivery and result in lower quality of care at higher cost.
RNAO is also concerned about the expansion of competitive bidding. Since government officials insist there is no intention to expand this practice beyond the home-care sector, we are asking for specific language in the legislation to prohibit it.
Nurses are also concerned about provisions in Bill 36 that could facilitate contracting out. Any services linked to patient care must be delivered by permanent staff. “As it is written now, LHINs have the authority to contract out services ranging from housekeeping to food delivery. There is no doubt that this could have a negative effect on patients and increase the workload of nurses who care for them,” says Ferguson-Paré.
Other concerns with the legislation include:
- Given the current and pending nursing shortages, the legislation must also address retention and recruitment. Successful health-care transformation can only take place if nurses are given assurances that working conditions and renumeration will be similar if they move from one sector to another.
- As it is drafted, Bill 36 also contains no mention of the Canada Health Act or the Commitment to Medicare Act. RNAO believes a clear commitment to these two acts must be enshrined in the legislation to ensure the health of a single-tier, not-for-profit health-care system.
Ferguson-Paré says nurses are committed to a process that will transform and improve our heath-care system. “We believe that LHINs are an important part of this process. However, without the amendments we are calling for, we cannot say that Bill 36 will provide the kind of change or provide the kind of patient care that this government is seeking and that Ontarians demand,” she says.
RNAO’s complete submission on Bill 36 will be available.
- Who: Mary Ferguson-Paré, RN, PhD, CHE, president-elect, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario
- What: Submission to the standing committee on social policy
- Where: Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park Room 151
- When: Monday, Feb. 6, 2006 10:15 a.m.
Please note: Ms. Ferguson-Paré will be available to speak with reporters outside Room 151 after her presentation to the standing committee.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.-30-