RNAO’s ongoing media profile: The December 2023 report
RNAO provided comment on several media stories related to primary care access, the Ontario auditor general’s annual report and an affordable housing offer to nurses in one city.
RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun wrote a letter to the editor (Toronto Star, Dec. 1) in response to a story about the provincial ombudsman’s report that highlighted the need for more access to primary care. Grinspun said primary care access is an urgent issue that can be resolved if the government approved proposals for nurse-practitioner led clinics (NPLC) in communities across Ontario. “Instead of focusing on for-profit solutions, the government must speedily approve the funding for each and all publicly-funded primary care clinics, including NPLCs,” said Grinspun.
On Dec. 6, Ontario’s acting auditor general (AG) Nick Stavropolous released the office’s annual report. Health-care issues accounted for the bulk of the report’s content. In response (Dec. 7), RNAO noted the AG reveals a health system of longstanding problems that the government must address. RNAO provided solutions in its 2023 Nursing Career Pathways report and its 2022 Nursing Through Crisis: A Comparative Perspective report, that the government could implement to retain and recruit nurses to address the staffing problem. RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway said that “overuse of agencies to address staffing concerns in hospitals, LTC and other sectors leads to much higher costs for poorer standards of care as well as lower access to care.” Grinspun told CBC News (Dec. 7) that while increasing the nursing workforce in Ontario is important, the problem won’t be resolved unless the government pays nurses better wages. Nurses aren’t “going to stay in the system if we don't provide that competitive compensation, good benefits, and also workloads that enable them to do quality work,” said Grinspun. An article from ElliotLakeToday.com (Dec. 8) also cited RNAO’s ongoing concern about the use of agencies. Sign and share RNAO’s Action Alert urging the premier to stop the move towards for-profit health care.
A property management and development company is offering to provide affordable housing to nurses working at Hamilton Health Sciences to help the hospital network retain and hire staff. A limited number of one- and two-bedroom units will be available in March or April 2024 to nurses employed by the hospital who have a total household income of $92,500 or less. Grinspun told the Hamilton Spectator (Dec. 7) that while it’s an ‘intriguing’ approach to retention and recruitment, there needs to be more support for nurses in the workplace. “Workloads allowing work life balance are the issues that nurses are looking for to stay in place. While this is an interesting strategy, without all the rest, it isn’t going to work.” On 900 CHML (Dec. 11), Grinspun said that this housing initiative highlights the ongoing staffing crisis affecting Ontario hospitals. “Nurses are health professionals who deserve to be fully recognized as such. Organizations need to do all they can to retain nurses and to recruit new ones,” said Grinspun.
RNAO will continue to speak out alongside its members on topics related to nursing and health. Stay up-to-date on media coverage by visiting RNAO in the news. Are you a member interested in speaking to reporters? Compete our short survey and a member of our communications team will be in touch.