Nurses applaud plans to strengthen the profession but say action must be immediate



    TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - The health-care needs of Ontarians will be well
served if promises to hire more nurses and increase access to primary health
care are acted on immediately.
    The commitment to hire 9,000 additional nurses, although significant,
fails to lay out a timetable that hits the ground running, says the Registered
Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO).
    "The government is delivering on its commitment to new nursing graduates.
However, nurses are also asking for immediate action to open nurse
practitioner-led clinics and hire more registered nurses in all sectors right
across the province," says RNAO President Mary Ferguson-Pare.
    "Far too many people in Northern and rural Ontario do not have access to
primary health care. Nurse practitioners are ready in communities such as
Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and others to open their doors and take care of
people's health needs. The time for government to act is now," adds
Ferguson-Pare.
    The association says commitments to the nursing workforce are also
important to prevent nurses from leaving Ontario.
    RNAO was expecting the government to take bolder steps toward reducing
poverty in Ontario. Nurses know there is a clear link between ill health and
poverty. "Although the investments are a step in the right direction, they are
insufficient given the pressing needs of low-income Ontarians," says RNAO
Executive Director Doris Grinspun. "The government has more work to do to
improve the lives of those on fixed incomes and those working for minimum
wage."
    RNAO applauds the government for identifying the environment as a
priority area. "This is something nurses called for. The commitment to take
action on toxic substances and cancer causing agents coupled with additional
investment in public transit will help make Ontario a safer place," says
Grinspun.

    The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario.
    Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied 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 further information:

For further information: Marion Zych, Director of Communications,
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, (647) 406-5605 (cellular), (416)
408-5605 (office)


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