OTTAWA, Feb. 16, 2004 – The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) and The Ottawa Coalition for Public Health in the 21st Century are urging members of Ottawa City Council to take a 20 per cent reduction in public health nursing positions off the table.
The City of Ottawa is proposing a 20 per cent reduction in the number of nursing positions in its public health department. This will mean the loss of 27.5 nursing positions in what is already one of the lowest funded health departments across the province (35th out of 37).
“Public health nurses are key to keeping people healthy,” said Joan Lesmond, president elect of RNAO, who will be in Ottawa tonight to discuss the proposed cuts with local nurses. “The proposed cuts to public health services in Ottawa are simply unacceptable.”
Lesmond added, “When will the doubletalk stop and the building
of a strong and well-resourced public health sector begin? Governments,
including local councils, have a responsibility to restore confidence
in our public health system. This cannot be achieved with a 20 per
cent reduction in public health nursing positions.”
RNAO and the Ottawa Coalition for Public Health in the 21st Century are calling on the City of Ottawa to enhance, not diminish, the capacity of public health to prevent disease, promote health and respond to infectious disease outbreaks and health emergencies.
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-