RNAO urges upstream and effective use of health resources at annual Queen's Park Day

TORONTO, Feb. 21, 2017 /CNW/ - Modest investments in wound care could spare hundreds of Ontarians with diabetes from life-altering and expensive amputations, and that's just one of many ways the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) says government can put patients first, while saving money and improving health outcomes in the province.

More than 110 registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP), and nursing students will visit the Ontario legislature Thursday as part of RNAO's 17th-annual Queen's Park Day. In meetings with more than 55 members of provincial parliament (MPP) from all parties – including Ontario's premier, minister of health and opposition leaders – nurses will make the case for funding low-cost interventions that could prevent amputations for up to 2,000 people with diabetic foot ulcers every year.

Offloading devices relieve pressure from foot ulcers and cost between $100 to $1,500 per person, but they are not publicly funded in Ontario. Instead, the province spends $74,000 for each amputation, negatively affecting people's quality of life and the province's bottom line. By funding offloading devices, the Canadian Diabetes Association estimates government can save people from amputation, and up to $75 million annually.

"This is a clear example of where investing in preventive measures could end so much needless suffering, and make better use of taxpayer dollars," says RNAO Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Doris Grinspun.

Nurses will also tell MPPs how the province can unlock efficiencies in the health system by allowing RNs and NPs to practise to their full scope, which RNAO says will increase timely access to quality health care. This includes enabling RNs to independently prescribe medications and order tests, and giving NPs the authority to prescribe controlled substances. Health Minister Eric Hoskins, who will attend Thursday's event, has previously committed to both initiatives.

"Ontario must urgently move forward with expanded roles for RNs and NPs," Grinspun says. "There is no time to wait while people struggle to access care."

Queen's Park Day will begin over breakfast, when RNAO members meet face-to-face with MPPs. In the afternoon, they will hear speeches and participate in question-and-answer sessions with Hoskins, PC Party Leader Patrick Brown and Health Critic Jeff Yurek, and NDP Party Leader Andrea Horwath.

With these top party officials, RNAO members will discuss other steps to build a healthier  Ontario, including establishing a universal pharmacare program, strengthening environmental protections, and enacting labour laws that promote healthier workplaces.

"Nurses take a holistic approach to health, and we know there are many factors influencing a person's health," says RNAO President Carol Timmings. "This is why we want to once again communicate our wealth of experience directly to politicians, and in doing so continue to influence and impact meaningful change for the entire province."

WHO

  • RNAO President Carol Timmings, Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun, and more than 110 RNs, NPs and nursing student leaders.
  • More than 55 MPPs at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. breakfast meetings and afternoon session.
  • Speeches from:
    • Eric Hoskins, minister of health, at 1 p.m.
    • Patrick Brown, PC party leader, and Jeff Yurek, PC health critic, at 1:45 p.m.
    • Andrew Horwath, NDP party leader, at 2:45 p.m.
    • Christine Elliott, patient ombudsman of Ontario, at 3:30 p.m.

WHAT

  • RNAO's 17th Queen's Park Day

WHEN

  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017

WHERE

  • 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto, Ont. M5S 1J4

Members of the media are welcome to attend.

RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students 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 RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

For further information: or to arrange an interview with a nurse, please contact: Daniel Punch, Communications Officer, RNAO, Phone: 416-408-5606, Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 250, dpunch@RNAO.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.rnao.org

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