TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) remains deeply concerned by the continuing flatlining of funding of Ontario hospitals.
ONA welcomes the budget's funding for community health care, but President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, says it must not come at the expense of already-underfunded hospitals.
"ONA members on the front lines of health care know that our patients are suffering as hospitals cut registered nurse care, close beds and cut services in order to balance budgets because of inadequate funding," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "We continue to call on the government to fully fund the key services that patients must be able to access from our public hospitals. The practice of sending patients home quicker and sicker is harming patients," she said.
"The reality is that there will always be patients who are seriously ill enough to require hospital care," said Haslam-Stroud. "Cuts leave our patients in the cold when they need hospital-based acute nursing care."
Registered nurse staffing capacity in the community sector also needs to be built in view of the increased number of patients being sent home from hospital faster than ever.
Years of hospital underfunding have cut millions of hours of RN care, increasing the number of high-risk patient care situations. ONA continues to note that this province has the second-worst RN-to-population ratio in Canada, and needs to hire 17,500 more RNs to catch up to the average ratio in Canada.
"We are encouraged by improved long-term care funding for residents," said Stroud. "However, the residents require four hours of worked personal care per resident per day, including 0.78 RN hours, to meet the complex care needs of residents."
ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association