TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - There are a few signs of hope in Ontario's
2014 budget even though it remains an austerity plan, says the
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO).
RNAO's President Rhonda Seidman-Carlson says while the budget boasts of
new jobs being created, not enough new RN positions are being added to
meet demands on the system. For example, the recent announcement to
place 75 nurse practitioners in nursing homes over the next three years
is good news for Ontario's seniors, but falls significantly short of
what's needed. "We continue to be ranked second last when it comes to
the number of RNs/population in Canada. We have to add 17,600 new
positions just to bring us in line with the national average. So we are
left asking the question, when is the province going to step up its
commitment to Ontario's RNs," says Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, adding "it's
an example of bad health and economic policy when you consider the
research associates RNs with lower complications and mortality rates."
While RNAO supports the 11.4 billion investment over 10 years in capital
grants for infrastructure development for hospital expansions, RNAO
Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun says "the association will
continue to caution that these investments not be done through public
private partnerships (P3) because the research consistently shows that
these projects end up costing more and delivering less." Grinspun adds
that when you compare the paltry sum of 300 million promised over the
same period to shift care from hospitals to community settings, "it's a
drop in the bucket and will continue to leave Ontarians on the
sidelines waiting for timely access to interprofessional primary care
in their communities."
Building on the vision of nurses to help people be healthy, RNAO
welcomes modest investments to help vulnerable Ontarians such as the
increases for adult Ontario Works recipients and people who receive
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits; spending for
affordable housing, enhancing an initiative to help the homelessness,
as well as increasing and indexing the Ontario Child Benefit. "Nurses
say they will continue to advocate on behalf of the working poor who require a minimum wage of $14 an hour to help lift them out of
poverty. "In our view, the increase to $11 per hour even when tied to
inflation is woefully inadequate," says Grinspun.
RNs also applaud the promise to dedicate $29 billion over 10 years for
public transit and transportation. "This is a very important health
measure that will reduce air pollution and gridlock in urban centres.
Nurses will keep watch to ensure that no public assets are sold to fund
this investment," says Seidman-Carlson.
In order to deliver the programs that are needed to create a healthy
society, RNAO knows governments must have the fiscal capacity. That's
why the association welcomes new revenue measures such as the tax
increases on higher income earners and tobacco. But RNAO's crunching of
the numbers reveals that additional measures are necessary to keep pace
with the province's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The fact is that
revenue as a share of GDP is falling, and program spending is falling
even faster in order to control the deficit. This continues a
troublesome austerity trend.
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
For more information about RNAO, visit our website at www.RNAO.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
SOURCE: Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
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Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario