Ontario nurses call for indefinite province-wide moratorium on the process to award home care contracts



    TORONTO, Jan. 23 /CNW/ - The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
(RNAO) welcomes the Ontario government's decision to end a process to award
home care contracts in Hamilton, but says the decision needs to be expanded to
include a moratorium so that other jurisdictions across the province don't
face the same situation.
    The government's move, which came last night, effectively reverses a
situation that would have shut two home care agencies - the Victorian Order of
Nurses (VON) and St. Joseph's Home Care out of the running to provide nursing
care through a bidding process run by the local Community Care Access Centre.
    "Competitive bidding is the antithesis of good patient care. It leads
people to compete rather than to collaborate, pitting one health care provider
against another while leaving patients on the sidelines," says RNAO president
Mary Ferguson-Pare.
    "This was an invention of the Harris government and we are asking the
McGuinty government to cancel this RFP process province wide, otherwise the
public uproar we saw in Hamilton could spread across the province."
    Doris Grinspun, RNAO's executive director says competitive bidding never
yielded the economic benefits that were touted nor did it deliver the health
outcomes promised by former Premier Mike Harris. "This flawed process created
a situation that is quite the opposite. It means nurses spend more time
writing proposals than dedicating themselves to providing patient care," says
Grinspun.
    "We want the government to take its action one step further because if
this process is allowed to roll out in other communities, it will disrupt the
continuity of care patients receive and will have a detrimental effect on the
morale of nurses worried about whether they will lose their jobs. "These are
knowledgeable, compassionate nurses who love their work. Their commitment to
providing care in peoples' homes shouldn't be taken for granted," adds
Grinspun.
    The association is urging Premier McGuinty and Health Minister George
Smitherman to place an indefinite moratorium on the competitive bidding
process for all home care contracts in Ontario.

    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, RNAO,
Phone: (416) 408-5605, Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209, Cell: (647)
406-5605


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