Canada's nurses stand up for Medicare

    OTTAWA, Oct. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Nurses for Medicare was launched today by
Canada's nurses to protect and strengthen medicare. With less than two weeks
to go in the federal election, Nurses for Medicare is calling on the country's
300,000 plus nurses to speak out in support of the publicly funded health care
system .
    "We share Canadians frustrations with access to health care and we are
committed to working with government and other health professionals toward
implementing proven solutions, within a publicly-funded health system," said
Kaaren Neufeld, president of the Canadian Nurses Association. "We are however,
unequivocally against increased privatization because it will put health care
out of the reach of those who need it most and would result in unequal access
to essential health services."
    According to leading organizations, private health care delivery does not
reduce wait times. A study of five Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) nations found that public-sector wait times are longer in
Britain and New Zealand, where both privately financed systems and publicly
funded systems are in place, than in countries offering only publicly funded
services, such as Canada and the Netherlands (Tuohy et al., 2004).(*)
    "Nurses need to put their support for medicare on record to counter
voices calling for a greater private role in health care. For-profit private
health care is neither efficient nor ethical," said Linda Silas, President of
the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, one of the founding member
organizations of Nurses for Medicare.
    In an open letter to all political leaders, Nurses for Medicare called on
federal, provincial and territorial governments for a moratorium on for-profit
expansion of the health system, expansion of publicly funded, not-for-profit
care to pharmacare and home care, for example, and for the enforcement of the
Canada Health Act.
    Nurses for Medicare is committed to health care that is based on need and
not on ability to pay. Nurses for Medicare believe that solutions to access
and sustainability challenges lie within reforms to the current, publicly
funded system such as interprofessional care, health promotion and strategic
investments in technology.
    For more information about Nurses for Medicare, visit:

    (*) Tuohy CH, Flood CM, Stabile M. How does private finance affect public
      health care systems? Marshaling the evidence from OECD nations. Journal
      of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 2004;29(3):359-96.

    2 October 2008

    Open letter to the Canadian Federal Political Party Leaders

    Canada's nurses, through their work on the front lines of health care,
    have first-hand knowledge of how to improve the effectiveness of our
    health system. We know that solutions to current health system challenges
    lie not in expanding private health care but in supporting innovation,
    applying technology, increasing the number of health professionals and
    achieving efficiencies through new models of care.

    Research over the years has consistently shown that privatization and
    two-tier systems do not improve quality of service, outcomes or wait
    times. We believe that a publicly funded, not-for-profit health system is
    the most effective and ethical way to provide health care. We support the
    fundamental premise that access to health care should be based on need,
    not on ability to pay. That is why the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA)
    and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) support Nurses for
    Medicare (, a grassroots initiative that
    provides information, tools and support for nurses advocating for the
    sustainability of the system.

    Nurses for Medicare is asking Canada's federal political parties to
    promise to work with the provincial and territorial governments to:

    - impose a moratorium on for-profit expansion in the health system;
    - expand publicly funded, not-for-profit care (e.g., pharmacare and home
      care); and
    - enforce the Canada Health Act.

    We ask that your party fully disclose its position on health in general
    and on the protection of medicare specifically.

    We know that your party shares with CNA and CFNU the goal of ensuring
    that all Canadians receive safe and timely access to health services. We
    urge you to support Nurses for Medicare and our call for action.


    (Signed)                          (Signed)
    Kaaren Neufeld                    Linda Silas
    President                         President
    Canadian Nurses Association       Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions

For further information:

For further information: Tina Grznar, Canadian Nurses Association, (613)
237-2159 ext. 283, Cell: (613) 266-0306; Deanna MacArthur, Canadian Federation
of Nurses Unions, Cell: (613) 889-5213

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Canadian Nurses Association

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