Canadians marked the 50th anniversary of Medicare this week, and today the country’s premiers and territorial leaders will meet in Halifax to further strengthen our most cherished social program.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is applauding our political leaders for their dedication to Canada’s universally accessible, not-for-profit health system as displayed during their last meeting in Victoria six months ago. Despite the unwillingness of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to join in discussions about the renewal of the country’s Health Accord (due to expire in 2014), the premiers and territorial leaders decided to form a Health-Care Innovations Working Group that has since reported back on: scope of practice for health-care providers; management of health resource costs; and clinical practice guidelines.
“RNAO was delighted to contribute its robust expertise by joining as an active member of the Clinical Practice Guidelines Working Group, alongside the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the Canadian Medical Association,” RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun said.
"The way the premiers and the working group have engaged associations such as CNA and RNAO is an important innovation in and of itself," said CNA President Barb Mildon. "CNA is thrilled to see the work of its provincial members being scaled up on a pan-Canadian level to improve delivery of care and the health outcomes of our population."
“Nurses applaud this move to place evidence at the forefront of patient care,” Grinspun added. “It is inspiring to see them recognize we need a system that is evidence-based and has primary health care and interprofessional practice at its core.”
As the Council of the Federation gathers July 25-27 in Halifax, RNAO is reminding this powerful group that “now is the time to advance primary health care, home care and pharmacare – what Tommy Douglas referred to as Medicare’s ‘Second Phase.’” Grinspun warned, however, that “for this to happen, we need a strong federal partner that will offer adequate funding, uphold the principles and spirit of the Canada Health Act, and provide bold leadership to expand programs that will further strengthen Medicare.”
“We urge the prime minister to get back to the table and commit to signing a Health Accord in 2014,” said Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, RNAO President. Harper’s hands-off approach to Medicare, coupled with a decrease in funding after 2017, will serve to undermine our health system, and foster privatization, she added.
“Nurses know that private, for-profit services will cost taxpayers more and deliver less at lower quality,” emphasized Seidman-Carlson. “This is why we ask the premiers and territorial leaders to continue to make collective progress on targeted areas for health-care improvements, while also insisting on a new Health Accord for the nation.”
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses 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.