Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

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Nurses launch vision for the health system that meets current and future care needs without resorting to medical tourism and other forms of privatization

2014-04-30

TORONTO, Apr. 30, 2014 – A laser-like focus on person-centred care, same-day access to a health provider, and better health outcomes is what Ontarians can expect if politicians heed the advice of nurses.

That vision is laid out in a blueprint released Wednesday by the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO). Charting a course for the health system and nursing in Ontario takes a comprehensive look at the province's health system, and sets out recommendations related to the system's five key sectors, including public health, primary care, hospital care, home care, and rehab, complex and long-term care. During a media conference at Queen's Park, RNAO provided short, medium and longer-term recommendations for each sector, which examine how care is delivered, who delivers it and where it should be delivered.

"We know where our system should be heading in the next 15 years," says Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, RNAO president, adding "the seeds of change contained in RNAO's vision call for changes that will help people stay healthy – physically, emotionally, socially and cognitively – make better use of existing health professionals, and deliver better bang for Ontario's health-care dollar."

Among the recommendations:

  • Addressing the social inequities that result in poverty and prevent hundreds of thousands of Ontarians from being healthy
  • Providing the environmental leadership that is essential to keep people healthy and free of toxics
  • Anchoring the health system in primary care and guaranteeing people access to a health provider 24/7
  • Shifting the focus of hospitals to caring for the seriously ill and those requiring elective surgery
  • Providing around-the-clock home care and support services
  • Implementing minimum staffing standards in all long-term care homes
  • Expanding the authority of Local Health Integration Networks to include whole-system planning, funding, monitoring and evaluation

"For too long, our system has been focused on illness and a piecemeal approach to taking care of people," argues Seidman-Carlson adding "we need to turn this approach on its head because it isn’t working."

Doris Grinspun, RNAO's chief executive officer, says "shifting attention and adding resources to the front end of the system with a greater emphasis on health promotion, disease prevention, and
managing chronic illness will lead to better health outcomes and cost taxpayers less. And this can be done without resorting to privatization gimmicks like medical tourism, co-payments or user
fees, which ultimately deliver less care and end up costing more."

Grinspun says RNAO's vision involves "increasing our focus on people and their social conditions, cleaning up our environment, having all health professionals working collaboratively to their full and expanded scope while relying on the best evidence." She also says nurse practitioners want to play a greater role right across the health system, and expanding the scope of RNs means they can also
make an even greater contribution to the health of Ontarians.

RNAO says a key pillar of its vision rests on staying true to the principles and spirit of a publicly-funded health system and expanding Medicare to include universal home care and pharmacare, while clamping down on those who engage in medical tourism and other forms of for-profit delivery. "Health care is a right, not a commodity to be bought and sold," adds Seidman-Carlson.

For more information about RNAO's vision, visit our website at www.vision.RNAO.ca

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has promoted excellence in nursing
practice, advocated for healthy public policy, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

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To arrange an interview with a registered nurse, please contact:

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

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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