Nurses call on incoming CMA president to protect our public health-care system



    TORONTO, Aug. 15 /CNW/ - As Dr. Anne Doig assumes the presidency of the
Canadian Medical Association (CMA) at the organization's upcoming annual
meeting in Saskatoon, registered nurses remind her that 86 per cent of
Canadians polled recently support not-for-profit solutions to strengthen the
country's universal health-care system. This widespread public opinion should
be used to inform the CMA's goals and decisions when it meets on Sunday
(August 16), according to the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
(RNAO).
    "Canadians have made it very clear that they value, support and rely on
our publicly-funded health-care system and we know that they expect
physicians, nurses and other health-care professionals to make a commitment to
defending and improving it," says RNAO president Wendy Fucile.
    Fucile says nurses want to send a strong message to the incoming
president because her two predecessors, Dr. Brian Day and Dr. Robert Ouellet,
spent much of their tenure advocating for greater privatization. Both
physicians had a vested interest in private health care: Dr. Day owns a
for-profit surgical facility in B.C. while Dr. Ouellet runs a chain of private
diagnostic clinics in Quebec.
    Nurses strongly disagree with for-profit health care and urge Dr. Doig to
lead the CMA in a new direction. "The evidence, ingenuity and capacity already
exist within our publicly-funded health-care system to deliver effective and
efficient care. Nurses, along with physicians and other health-care providers,
have been at the forefront of innovative changes that are improving access to
health-care services across the country. These innovations serve all
Canadians, not simply those who can afford it," explains Doris Grinspun,
executive director of RNAO.
    The majority of the physicians that Dr. Doig will represent as CMA
president recognize the benefits of universal Medicare. In a 2005 survey, the
association found that only 27 per cent of physicians favour a purely private
health-care system.
    "It is time for front line physicians to stand up to their leadership and
demand a change in direction," says Grinspun. "The research evidence is
unequivocal - Canadians will benefit most from strengthening the public
financing and public delivery of health services and utilizing all health
professionals to their full scope to improve timely access to quality care."

    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.
    To find out more about RNAO, visit www.rnao.org or follow us on Twitter
at www.twitter.com/rnao





For further information:

For further information: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, Cell:
(647) 406-5605, mzych@rnao.org; Jill-Marie Burke, Communications Coordinator,
Phone: (416) 408-5606, jburke@rnao.org


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