McGuinty Government Applauds Ontario's Nurses

    Premier Praises Progress Made To Speed Up Access To Care,
    Build A Stronger Health Care System

    MARKHAM, ON, April 20 /CNW/ - Premier Dalton McGuinty today thanked
nurses for working hard to improve care and build a stronger health care
system for Ontario families.
    "Nurses are the very heart and soul of our health care system," said
Premier McGuinty.  "Your strength, passion and commitment are what set you
apart from nearly every other profession."

    In a major speech to the 82nd Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario's
Annual General Meeting, Premier McGuinty highlighted the government's support
for nurses, including:
    -   Expanding opportunities for Ontario's most experienced nurses
    -   Guaranteeing nursing graduates will start in full-time positions
        beginning this year
    -   Providing more funding, which means Ontario is getting 8,000 more

    Earlier in the day, Premier McGuinty visited London and Barrie, where
local hospitals have been leaders in bringing down wait times.  Since 2004,
the government has funded about 740,000 additional medical procedures to help
speed up access to care in Ontario. As a result, patients are getting:

    -   Cancer surgeries 13 days faster
    -   Hip replacements 94 days earlier
    -   Knee replacements 133 days quicker
    -   MRI and CT scans 15 and 19 days sooner
    -   Cataract surgery 128 days earlier
    -   Cardiac procedures up to 28 days faster.

    "Ontario's nurses are truly second to none - and we want to take full
advantage of their skills," said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George
Smitherman. "By supporting new nursing graduates and experienced nurses, we're
helping to strengthen Ontario's health care system for years to come."
    Premier McGuinty said he is pleased by the progress made so far, but there
is more work ahead to strengthen Ontario's health care system and make it
sustainable for the long term.
    "Step-by-step, we'll continue working to ensure that Ontario's universal,
public health care system is responsive today, sustainable tomorrow and
equipped for the challenges of the future," said Premier McGuinty.

    Disponible en français

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For further information:

For further information: Premier's Media Office, (416) 314-8975

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