Media Advisory - Nurses bring solutions to Queen's Park that will improve Ontarians' health

    TORONTO, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - Nurses from across Ontario will head to Queen's
Park this Thursday to remind MPPs that, as the government begins its second
term, RNs will be looking for quick action on issues that affect the health of
people across the province.
    "Last fall's provincial election gave nurses the chance to see what
priorities drive all the political parties," says Mary Ferguson-Pare,
President of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, which is
organizing the visit to the Legislature. "It's now time to get on with the
business of making important changes towards reducing poverty, increasing
affordable housing, ridding the environment of toxins, and building access to
primary health care by enabling all health professionals to work to their full
    Ferguson-Pare says RNAO members will press politicians on these issues
because there is plenty of evidence that factors like poverty, the physical
environment we live in and access to primary health care all play a
significant role in health outcomes. RNAO says the need to immediately improve
the public's access to primary health care is why the association wants to see
12 of the 25 nurse-led clinics, promised during the election campaign, up and
running in 2008.
    The association's ninth annual Day at Queen's Park will also give members
the chance to talk about other critical issues that directly affect nurses and
the public they serve. Nurses want assurances that the government will deliver
substantive funding, earmarked to full-time nursing employment, in the
upcoming provincial budget.
    "Targeted funding is crucial if the government is going to achieve its
goals of increasing Ontario's nursing workforce by 9,000 and having 70 per
cent of nurses working full-time," says Doris Grinspun, Executive Director of
RNAO. "The nursing community is concerned with the sharp slowdown in the
number of new RNs working in Ontario for the past two years," she adds,
stressing that this is unsafe for the public. "These numbers are not just a
priority for RNAO members; they are key to providing the people who live in
this vast province with the care they need and deserve."
    In meetings with politicians and their staff, nurses will also voice
their ongoing concerns over public-private-partnerships, or P3, funding for
hospitals. They will also raise the issue of competitive bidding in home care.
"The new contracts for competitive bidding which are rolling out in
communities like Hamilton, continue to disrupt the continuity of care patients
are receiving, and it's detrimental to staff in the sector who worry about
their jobs when home care contracts change hands," says Ferguson-Pare. Instead
of competitive bidding, nurses want to see real improvement in the sector so
Ontario's aging population can access the best care at home. RNAO says that
will take government investments in home care, and a moratorium on competitive
    RNs will speak with more than 20 MPPs, and their staff members, including
the Minister of Health, the leader and health critic of the Progressive
Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party's Health Critic, and several
cabinet Ministers.


      -  RNAO President Mary Ferguson-Pare and Executive Director
         Doris Grinspun.

      -  More than 130 RNAO members.

      -  Hon. George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care will
         speak at 9:00 a.m.

      -  John Tory, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and
         PC Party Health Critic Elizabeth Witmer, will speak at 10:15 a.m.

      -  France Gelinas, New Democratic Party Health Critic will speak at
         11:30 a.m.


      -  RNAO's 9th Annual Day at Queen's Park.


      -  Thursday, Jan. 24, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


      -  Queen's Park, Main Legislative Building, Committee Room 228.

    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)

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