Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

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Ontario’s top professional nursing organization asks Health Minister to reject sale of Shouldice Hospital to for-profit U.S. conglomerate

2012-09-24

TORONTO, September, 24, 2012 – Ontario’s top professional nursing organization is calling on the Health Minister to reject the proposed sale of Shouldice Hospital to a large for-profit conglomerate.

Members of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) have consistently called on governments of all political stripes to affirm their commitment to the Canada Health Act and the fundamental principle of a single-tier, not-for-profit health-care system.

That’s why RNAO is asking its members to write to Health Minister Deb Matthews to block the proposed sale of Shouldice Hospital, which is based in Thornhill. Centric Health, a rapidly growing health products company, recently announced its intention to purchase the hospital, well-known for the treatment of hernias. Centric is controlled by U.S.-based Global Healthcare Investments and Solutions (GHIS), one of the largest private, for-profit health-care companies in the world.

Shouldice Hospital is family-founded and operated and predates the Canada Health Act. That’s why it was “grand-parented” when the act came into effect in 1984 but subject to the understanding that clinics and hospitals in Ontario must be publicly-funded and not-for-profit.

RNAO’s Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun says more than 1,000 nurses have already written letters protesting the sale. “Ontarians do not need care that cuts corners to maximize returns for shareholders or companies that provide faster access for those who can afford it while leaving others behind in the queue. This is not only wrong; it is totally unconscionable and unacceptable.”

“The Minister has made it clear she wants to shift more procedures out of hospital and into not-for-profit community-based clinics. This principle is outlined in the government’s Action Plan for Health Care,” says Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, president of RNAO, adding that “now is the Minister’s time to put words into action.”

Seidman-Carlson says there are examples of non-profit community clinics such as Toronto’s Kensington Eye Institute, which provides high-quality eye care through Ontario’s Health Insurance Plan. “We urge the Minister to block this sale and commit to the delivery of health services on a not-for-profit basis.”

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated 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.

For more information about RNAO, check out our website at www.RNAO.ca. Become a friend on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Cell: 647-406-5605 / Office: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209
mzych@rnao.org

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