TORONTO, Jan. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Members of the Registered Nurses'
Association of Ontario (RNAO) say this week's move by the federal
government to avoid debate over the country's health-care system is
shortsighted and irresponsible.
"Talks about the future of health care aren't just about how much money
is in the funding envelope," says David McNeil, RNAO president. "The
federal government has an obligation to look at the needs of Canadians.
What areas in our system need attention? What can we do better? This,
and protecting the principles and spirit of Medicare by enforcing the Canada Health Act is the role of the federal government," adds McNeil.
Rather than join negotiations about how best to fund health-care
expenditures when provincial premiers and territorial leaders met in
Victoria this week, the Harper government opted to impose a deal, which
it announced last month just before the holidays.
Under Ottawa's plan, federal transfers for health care will continue to
grow six per cent each year until 2017. After that, transfers to
provinces would be pegged to increases in gross domestic product.
McNeil says, "lowering increases in health transfers will have the
dangerous effect of encouraging experiments with for-profit medicine by
RNAO says federal leadership must ensure the provinces are delivering
health care according to the principles of the Canada Health Act. "Handing over money without strings attached is irresponsible and will
undoubtedly lead to an expansion of for-profit delivery," adds McNeil.
"Why would you go down that road when the research consistently shows
that not-for profit delivers more care at a lower cost," he emphasizes.
Despite its disappointment with the stand taken by the federal
government, RNAO applauds the premiers' decision to form a committee
that focuses attention on three areas: scope of practice for
health-care providers; management of health resource costs; and
clinical practice guidelines. "This move is the direction the country
needs right now and the association is eager and ready to contribute to
that effort," says Doris Grinspun, RNAO's executive director.
RNAO is Canada's leader in developing and supporting implementation of
clinical best practice guidelines for nurses. Since the program began12
years ago, the association has produced more than 45 guidelines and
these have been adopted across Ontario, nationally and internationally.
Grinspun says these evidence-based clinical best practices should
become the gold standard for nurses everywhere in Canada. "This is the
way to improve patient care and save dollars," adds Grinspun, who
launched the program in 1999 with the help of provincial funding.
Grinspun says the rest of the country should also borrow a page from
Ontario's health-care transformation and allow nurse practitioners to
lead primary care clinics. She says other jurisdictions here at home
and abroad also enable registered nurses to prescribe medications
within their scope. "When every nurse in Canada is working to their
full scope of practice, Canadians will get better value for their
health-care dollar," Grinspun adds.
"The federal government should also dedicate funding to speed up the
availability of interprofessional primary care so every person has
access and we help people to prevent and better manage chronic care
conditions," stresses Grinspun adding that "access to primary care and
home care are especially important as Canada confronts an ever-growing
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 / Office: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209