The commitment to hire 9,000 additional nurses, although significant, fails to lay out a timetable that hits the ground running, says the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).
“The government is delivering on its commitment to new nursing graduates. However, nurses are also asking for immediate action to open nurse practitioner-led clinics and hire more registered nurses in all sectors right across the province,” says RNAO President Mary Ferguson-Pare.
“Far too many people in Northern and rural Ontario do not have access to primary health care. Nurse practitioners are ready in communities such as Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and others to open their doors and take care of people’s health needs. The time for government to act is now,” adds Ferguson-Pare.
The association says commitments to the nursing workforce are also important to prevent nurses from leaving Ontario.
RNAO was expecting the government to take bolder steps toward reducing poverty in Ontario. Nurses know there is a clear link between ill health and poverty. “Although the investments are a step in the right direction, they are insufficient given the pressing needs of low-income Ontarians,” says RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun. “The government has more work to do to improve the lives of those on fixed incomes and those working for minimum wage,” adds Grinspun.
RNAO applauds the government for identifying the environment as a priority area. “This is something nurses called for. The commitment to take action on toxic substances and cancer causing agents coupled with additional investment in public transit will help make Ontario a safer place, ” says Grinspun.
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.