The government’s move, which came last night, effectively reverses a situation that would have shut two home care agencies – the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) and St. Joseph’s Home Care out of the running to provide nursing care through a bidding process run by the local Community Care Access Centre.
“Competitive bidding is the antithesis of good patient care. It leads people to compete rather than to collaborate, pitting one health care provider against another while leaving patients on the sidelines,” says RNAO president Mary Ferguson-Pare.
“This was an invention of the Harris government and we are asking the McGuinty government to cancel this RFP process province wide, otherwise the public uproar we saw in Hamilton could spread across the province.”
Doris Grinspun, RNAO’s executive director says competitive bidding never yielded the economic benefits that were touted nor did it deliver the health outcomes promised by former Premier Mike Harris. “This flawed process created a situation that is quite the opposite. It means nurses spend more time writing proposals than dedicating themselves to providing patient care,” says Grinspun.
“We want the government to take its action one step further because if this process is allowed to roll out in other communities, it will disrupt the continuity of care patients receive and will have a detrimental effect on the morale of nurses worried about whether they will lose their jobs. “These are knowledgeable, compassionate nurses who love their work. Their commitment to providing care in peoples’ homes shouldn’t be taken for granted,” adds Grinspun.
The association is urging Premier McGuinty and Health Minister George Smitherman to place an indefinite moratorium on the competitive bidding process for all home care contracts in Ontario.
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.