Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

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RNAO says public inquiry will help prevent future tragedies in long-term care

2017-06-26

TORONTO, June 26, 2017 – On the same day former nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of eight Ontario long-term care residents, the Ontario government has launched an independent public inquiry into the circumstances around these tragic events.

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) had been demanding an inquiry into the case since Wettlaufer pleaded guilty earlier this month. The association spoke out in the media and issued letters to provincial leaders. RNAO Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun says the formal public inquiry announced today by Health Minister Eric Hoskins and Attorney General Yasir Naqvi should provide much-needed answers for grieving families and for Ontario's health system.

"During this immensely difficult time, I commend the government for having the courage to put these events under the microscope," says Grinspun. "The inquiry will help us learn how this tragedy happened, and see if there were any cracks in the system we can address to prevent this from happening ever again."

News of these deaths devastated the nursing profession, the health sector and the public – especially the families of the eight lost long-term care residents. Earlier this month, RNAO released a statement expressing its condolences to the victims' families and reiterating nurses' commitment to delivering safe and quality care.

"When it comes to the safety of our patients, we must leave no stone unturned," says RNAO President Carol Timmings. "It is essential for Ontarians to know they can trust their health professionals and their health system, and getting to the bottom of this tragedy will help us reinforce that trust."

RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students 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, visit our website at RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Daniel Punch
Communications Officer/Writer, RNAO
Tel: 416-408-5606 / 1-800-268-7199, ext. 250
dpunch@RNAO.ca