Nurses decry lack of accountability as SARS case thrown out

    TORONTO, May 7 /CNW/ - Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda
Haslam-Stroud, RN, says the ruling today that Ontario does not owe a "private
law duty of care" to front-line registered nurses sends the wrong message as
the world grapples with the possibility of a flu pandemic.
    The Ontario Court of Appeal today dismissed a class action suit brought
by registered nurses following the SARS outbreak in the province in 2003. Two
nurses died of SARS they contracted on the job while caring for patients and
dozens of RNs were sickened.
    "The message to front-line registered nurses is that government is not
accountable for their safety or their lives," says Haslam-Stroud. "The
government is not required to pass laws that provide RNs with safe working
conditions, safe equipment and they don't have to take any responsibility to
keep us safe. It's an outrageous and deplorable situation."
    ONA has worked for years to ensure our members are safe on the job, she
notes, and will continue to do so. However, nurses now know that there is no
legal requirement for their government to ensure they are protected -- now or
in future -- from illnesses such as SARS.
    "ONA will continue to push for safe conditions for its members," says
Haslam-Stroud. "We are on the front lines and we want to provide quality
patient care. ONA will be even more aggressive in ensuring that our members
are properly armed with information and protective equipment. We know we can't
depend on others to do so for us."

    The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), the union representing 54,000
registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 10,000 nursing
students providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public
health, the community, clinics and industry. ONA is celebrating 35 years of
nursing advocacy - a proud past, a powerful future.

For further information:

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Sheree Bond, (416)
964-8833, ext. 2430, Cell: (416) 926-8240

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Ontario Nurses' Association

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