MISSISSAUGA, ON, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - While the 2014 Ontario Budget
proposes several important health care commitments, funding constraints
across the hospital, community and long-term care sectors threaten to
have negative implications for these vital health care professionals
and the millions of Ontarians for whom they provide care.
The Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO) applauds
the provincial government's continued investment in community-focused
health care systems but is concerned it is not enough. "We know
patients want to be cared for in their homes and communities whenever
possible," says Dianne Martin, Executive Director of RPNAO. "Research
also tells us that quality care delivered in the community care and
home care sector is more cost-effective than care delivered in a
While this shift toward community-based health care is encouraging, we
remain deeply concerned about the lack of funding for the nurses tasked
with caring for Ontario's growing and aging population. Ontario's
hospitals are facing unprecedented budgetary constraints and are being
asked to fund increased compensation costs through 'productivity gains'
and other 'tradeoffs'. Unfortunately, as demonstrated by the latest
statistics from the College of Nurses of Ontario, one of these
tradeoffs has been a significant drop in the percentage of nurses in
full-time roles as hospitals and other employers struggle to control
rising health care costs. The full-time employment rate for RPNs
dropped 4.1% this past year to 56.8%, far below the provincial goal of
70% full-time employment.
"This trend is having dire consequences for our nurses, as it diminishes
the continuity of care and fragments care, which threatens patient
outcomes, making it increasingly difficult for nurses to maintain the
service levels required to meet their patients' health care needs,"
says Martin. "It's also important to remember that the life of a
part-time nurse is extremely difficult, filled with incredible amounts
of stress and uncertainty. We need to do better by our nurses and the
people they care for."
RPNAO supports a number of the proposals put forth by the provincial
government in the latest budget, including expanding the scopes of
nurses and other health care professionals, the investment of $11.4
billion in capital grants for hospital expansion and redevelopment
projects, increased pay for PSWs in the home and community sector, the
commitment to modernizing long-term care facilities and making
additional investments in the province's mental health and addictions
However, more work needs to be done in order to truly create a more
sustainable and high-quality health care system in the province.
"Ontario's nurses take pride in the important work they do. They want to
be able to continue providing high-quality care," says Martin.
"However, despite these important commitments, unless the government
takes decisive action to better support the province's nurses, we are
going to continue to see nurses struggling with crushing workloads,
resulting in a higher incidence of sick days, more overtime and,
ultimately, more nurses choosing to leave the profession altogether."
About the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO)
Founded in 1958, RPNAO is the voice of registered practical nursing in
Ontario. There are approximately 35,000 RPNs working in Ontario,
playing a vital role in the province's health care system. For more
information about RPNAO, its mandate and how RPNs contribute to
Ontario's health care system, please visit rpnao.org.
SOURCE: Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario
For further information:
Dianne Martin, Executive Director
905-602-4664 ext. 226