TORONTO, Jan. 26, 2006 – Just days after the political landscape was altered in Ottawa, 130 leaders of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) are heading to Queen’s Park to influence and help shape government policies that will affect the health and well-being of Ontarians.
During RNAO’s 7th Annual Day at Queen’s Park, scheduled for Friday, Jan. 27, RNs and nursing students from across Ontario will demand that government health-care policies take into account the challenges to this country’s most important social program – Medicare.
One such challenge is the proliferation of investor-driven, for-profit clinics. The McGuinty government says it is reviewing the legality of B.C. businessman Don Copeman’s plans to expand into Ontario. RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun says nurses want to highlight the danger these clinics pose.
“We are counting on the government to put the brakes on these profiteers who set up shop to care for the few who can afford to pay,” says Grinspun. “These clinics undermine the public system by siphoning off health-care professionals and eroding the public’s confidence in, and support for, the health-care system.”
This year, Queen’s Park Day brings positive news for nurses. RNAO president Joan Lesmond says RNs are extremely pleased with the announcement that the government made today regarding the Nursing Retention Fund. “This strategy will ensure nurses don’t suffer the consequences of balanced budgets. Because if they suffer so do their patients and that is simply unacceptable,” says Lesmond.
Nurses will also be speaking with MPPs to find ways to build on the gains made today and look at new ways of making further progress to achieve the 70 per cent full-time employment for registered nurses promised by Premier McGuinty in his election platform. “This is vital for nurses to continue providing the knowledge, skills and compassion that the public expects and deserves,” says Lesmond.
RNAO members will hear from Health Minister George Smitherman, PC Leader John Tory, and NDP MPP Andrea Horwath. Nurses will have an opportunity to question the politicians on a range of health-care issues including the financing of P3 hospitals and Bill 36 - legislation that governs the Local Health System Integration Act.
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-