OTTAWA, June 12, 2013 /CNW/ - Data from the eighth report card issued by the Wait Time Alliance (WTA) clearly shows what nurses have been saying for years, Canadians are waiting too long for care and governments need to prioritize health care now.
"For next month's Council of the Federation this is a clear wake-up call for all governments," said Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). "It is not acceptable that as wait time improvements stall, governments are not ensuring adequate investments in quality health care in Canada.
This report confirms what over 800 nurses' union leaders from across Canada discussed during their biennial convention last week in Toronto: social determinants of health significantly impact health care outcomes and positive structural change in the Canadian health care system is urgently needed. Nurses also noted a shortage of long-term care spaces coupled with an inadequate number of qualified staff continues to burden the system. It is critical that nurses be involved in policy development in order to ensure safe, efficient, and sustainable health systems decisions are made.
"We have a federal government that is effectively cutting transfers to health care and refusing to discuss a new health care accord with the provinces," said Silas. "The response from many provinces is to reduce investments in health care and this is just not acceptable, it is the patient and health care workers who bear the brunt of these cuts or ill-conceived changes."
The 2013 WTA report card, "Time for transformation: Canadians still waiting too long for health care," reaffirms findings from 2011's report card showing significant numbers of hospital beds are occupied by patients waiting for alternate levels of care, such as rehabilitative care, home care or long-term care. This is a significant barrier to patient safety and threatens to overwhelm the health care system.
"Last week we released a Praxis Analytics poll which supported the evidence in the Wait Times Alliance report" said Silas, "Canadians are concerned about a shortage of long-term care spaces and qualified staff, we urgently needs a focused and coordinated effort to address the growing gaps in quality and availability of home care and long-term care across the country."
This report card acts as yet another wake up call, also raising alarms about rising drug costs and aging: CFNU and their members continue to call for National Pharmacare and a National Strategy on Aging which would include, as echoed by the Wait Times Alliance, a national strategy on dementia to address the increasing numbers of Alzheimer's and other dementia-related conditions.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
For further information:
Anil Naidoo, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, 613-986-5409, [email protected]