TORONTO, Jan. 27, 2005 – The Health Council of Canada has found the right focus to kick start health-care reform across Canada, the president of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) said in response to the release of the council’s inaugural report, Health Care Renewal in Canada: Accelerating Change.
“The Health Council of Canada’s report is a progressive push for the right kind of health-care reform -- reform that requires a commitment to closing health disparities, a sustainable and supported health-care workforce, an infusion of multidisciplinary teams providing better access to primary health care, and improved electronic health-information systems,” said Joan Lesmond.
Lesmond said the council’s report comes at an opportune time for Ontarians. The Ontario government is proceeding with ambitious and multi-dimensional health-care reforms – setting up local health networks, wrestling with wait lists, establishing interdisciplinary family health teams, consulting on home-care services, and investing in registered nurses and their full-time employment. One piece of the transformation puzzle, however, just doesn’t fit: its recent announcement that 757 full-time nursing positions will be cut from Ontario hospitals.
“The council’s report underscores the urgency of eliminating the nursing shortage. Without enough health-care professionals, health-care reform will fail. RNAO urges the government to pay particular attention to that section of the report,’’ Lesmond said.
Lesmond said RNAO applauds the council for its important leadership, and hopes the territories and provinces will heed its sound advice. She added that RNAO looks forward to the council’s future reports on what citizens receive from their health-care dollars. Canadians need to know, for instance, the benefits and costs associated with for-profit and not-for-profit delivery of health-care services.
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.