TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - A treatment plan aimed at how Ontario
should handle its spending priorities in the face of a record deficit
is getting mixed reaction from nurses who say some proposals, if
enacted by the government, will lead the province down the for-profit
The long-awaited report by the Commission on the Reform of Ontario's
Public Services and its 362 recommendations, more than 100 for health
alone, was unveiled Wednesday by commission chair Don Drummond.
"We all recognize the need to strengthen the health system to provide
efficient, timely and better care for patients. We are disappointed,
however, that the Drummond Commission overstepped its mandate by making
policy recommendations that steer the province to health care
privatization," says David McNeil, president of the Registered Nurses'
Association of Ontario (RNAO). McNeil is referring to recommendations
about tendering specialist services to 'private, for-profit entities.'
McNeil says "this market approach to health care goes against the
research that shows care provided in not-for-profit health-care
settings delivers better health outcomes for less money."
Agreeing with the Drummond report on the need for more home care and
community services, McNeil insists the not-for-profit sector should be
favoured in delivering these services.
RNAO says Drummond's recommendation to hold spending for social programs
translates into a real per capital cut of 18 per cent over the next
seven years. "This is shortsighted; cuts to social programs that shape
a person's ability to be healthy will cost government more in the long
run," says McNeil.
The association does applaud the recommendation to bring primary care
under the control of Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN). "We've
long said that more integration is needed and ensuring people have
timely access to a primary care provider such as a nurse practitioner,
a registered nurse or family physician, is key to keeping people
healthy and out of the hospital as long as possible," says RNAO's
executive director Doris Grinspun adding that "this is also the best
way to delay and lessen chronic conditions and avoid complications,
which is critical when faced with a growing and aging population."
RNAO is also pleased that the Drummond report acknowledges the central
role nurses play in the health system, and recognizes the potential for
improved health outcomes and cost savings by expanding their role and
building more capacity in nursing programs to educate more nurses.
"When every registered nurse in this province is working to full scope
of practice, Ontarians will get better value for their health-care
dollar," says Grinspun, adding the province should look to
jurisdictions such as the UK that allow registered nurses to prescribe
medications within their scope.
Grinspun says RNAO has shared plenty of cost efficient and innovative
ideas to transform the health system with the government and Drummond
himself, such as expanding the 26 funded primary care Nurse
Practitioner-led clinics by adding more NPs so they can take on more
patients, and opening new clinics in areas of need.
RNAO supports wholeheartedly the recommendation to ensure that
evidence-based care becomes the norm. "For more than a decade, RNAO has
been the leader in developing and implementing clinical practice
guidelines (CPG) for nurses. There is no need to reinvent the wheel
because these guidelines are improving patient care and saving precious
health-care dollars," says Grinspun, adding that they have been adopted
by health-care organizations across Ontario, Canada and
The association says the real test of the Drummond report's many
recommendations will come next month, when the Ontario government
unveils its budget and in the months ahead. But before that, RNAO urges
the government to set up public consultations so Ontarians have a say
in the conversation about the challenges facing the province.
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario 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. For more information about RNAO, visit our website at www.rnao.org. You can also check out our Facebook page at www.rnao.org/facebook and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rnao.
SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
For further information:
To arrange an interview with a nurse or for more information, please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Cell: 647-406-5605 / Phone: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209