Nurses decry loss of national health-care body
TORONTO, April 17, 2013 – The professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario is adding its voice to the chorus of boos in response to Tuesday’s news that the federal government is cutting funding to the Health Council of Canada.
The national body was set up in 2004 to monitor the 10-year health accord struck between then Prime Minister Paul Martin and the provinces and territories. Part of its mandate includes reporting on the country’s health system by looking at examples of best practices and innovation.
“We are extremely disappointed with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to end support for the Health Council of Canada. This decision is a failure of the federal government to recognize strong, credible, evidence-based health organizations who work to strengthen Canada,” says Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, president of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). “Everyone in this country should be deeply concerned because the federal government is distancing itself from the health and health care of Canadians.
RNAO’s Chief Executive Officer says the decision to cut the Health Council’s funding is politically motivated and short sighted. “The Harper government has been slowly chipping away at the cornerstone of Medicare. Two years ago, it refused to sit down with First Ministers to negotiate a new funding agreement. Instead, it unveiled a funding plan with no strings attached and announced transfer payments paid to provinces after 2017 would be lowered. It’s clear the federal government’s intent is to undermine the system until nothing is left. Given this country’s proud history of Medicare, Canadians should be alarmed,” says Dr. Doris Grinspun.
RNAO has high praise for the council’s work, saying its reports have examined important issues such as quality of care, universality, Aborginal health, and system efficiency.
Dr. Grinspun says RNAO will be urging its members to write to the Prime Minister and opposition leaders and demand a reversal of the decision.
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.