The public health measures announced Friday are essential steps but not enough to contain the out-of-control spread of the Omicron virus or to prevent a collapse of the health system, says the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).
The association says much stronger measures are needed to address the magnitude of the challenge facing the province. “Capacity limits provided today are too generous given the millions of Ontarians over the age of 18 still in line to get booster shots, and the demand for boosters outstrips our capacity to deliver them quickly,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun, noting that nurses play a significant role in vaccine distribution.
Earlier this week, the association implored Premier Doug Ford to treat nurses with the respect they deserve. “Not only are they running on empty, they are working for less pay because of Bill 124, legislation that caps nurses’ salaries to just one per cent,” says Grinspun, adding the best way to ensure there are enough nurses to fight the explosive growth in new infections is to immediately repeal Bill 124.
“Nurses care deeply about their patients and they keep going to work facing insurmountable challenges. Their patient assignments have increased dramatically. Most still do not have the N95 masks needed to keep them and their colleagues safe given that COVID-19 is airborne, and they feel increasingly ignored by a government that does not care about their health and wellbeing,” says Morgan Hoffarth, RNAO President referring to Bill 124. Hoffarth added nurses and Ontarians can send a message to Premier Ford by contacting their local MPP.
Hoffarth also urges Ontarians to do their part by adhering to all public health measures for the sake of their own health and that of their families. “This is a virus that knows no bounds. We all have an obligation to look out for ourselves and for one another.”
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public we serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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