TORONTO, Feb. 3, 2011 – As political parties look ahead to this fall’s provincial election, registered nurses say hiring more RNs must be a top priority to help bring Ontario’s RN to population ratio in line with the rest of the country.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) reports that although the province has made gains in terms of hiring more nurses, the ratio in Ontario (72 per 10,000 people) lags behind the national average (83 per 10,000). “Failing to address this shortfall will have serious implications for the people of Ontario and the RNs who work on their behalf. RNs right across this province are overworked, stressed and concerned about the impact this has on their patients,” explains David McNeil, President of RNAO.
Hiring more RNs is one of several recommendations the association is highlighting during its 12th Annual Queen’s Park Day (Feb. 3). More than 150 registered nurses and nursing students will hear from Health Minister Deb Matthews, PC Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. Nurses are also meeting with 60 cabinet ministers, MPPs and their staff to share their views on the health-care system and what they see in their daily practice.
“Health care continues to rank as a top issue with people; however our view of health care goes beyond the patient in the hospital bed. Health care is also about having adequate nutrition, a decent roof over your head, clean air to breathe and access to health services across the continuum from community to palliative care. All these factors affect one’s ability to be healthy and RNAO has concrete recommendations for improvements in these areas,” adds McNeil.
RNAO’s policy recommendations are outlined in the report titled, Creating Vibrant Communities: RNAO’s Challenge to Ontario’s Political Parties. Recommendations of particular concern to RNs in the lead up to the next election include:
• Strengthening social determinants of health, including increasing the minimum wage and implementing a $100/month healthy food supplement.
• Creating sustainable green communities by closing dirty coal by 2012
• Enhancing Medicare by investing in not-for-profit home care services
• Improving access to nursing services by hiring an additional 9,000 RNs by 2015
• Reaching 70 per cent full-time employment for all nurses
• Opening an additional 50 Nurse Practitioner-led clinics to improve access to primary care
View a bookmark that highlights RNAO’s top recommendations here
“Nurses comprise an important and sizeable segment of the voting population in this province, with 155,000 voters in Ontario being nurses. On Oct 6th, nurses will vote for an enhanced publicly funded and not-for-profit health care, a cleaner environment and policies that treat people with dignity and equity. We know our recommendations can help create the kind of communities where people from all walks of life can thrive,” says Doris Grinspun, RNAO’s Executive Director.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated 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.
For more information about RNAO, visit our website at www.rnao.ca. You can also check out our Facebook page at www.rnao.ca/facebook and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rnao.