TORONTO, June 5, 2014 /CNW/ - With one week remaining before voters go to the polls, nurses across Ontario are proud of their efforts to make health a priority issue during the provincial election campaign. Since the vote was called on May 2, members of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) have been involved in several initiatives to engage political candidates running for office.
The association rebranded Take Your MPP to Work, one of its long-standing political advocacy events, as Take Your Politician to Work, so that all candidates could take part. Invitations were sent to the four major parties and 45 visits were arranged to give politicians a better appreciation of the opportunities and challenges facing our health system, and the pivotal work registered nurses and nurse practitioners are doing in community health centres, public health units, hospitals and a variety of other health-care settings.
RNAO members also organized all-candidates debates in Peterborough, Lindsay, Kingston, London and Windsor.
The association's President Vanessa Burkoski says voters deserve to know the details on where the parties and leaders stand when it comes to health issues. That's why the association also invited each leader to answer 13 questions to help clarify their positions on the key areas that affect people's health. The questions relate to the priority areas outlined in RNAO's vision of what Ontario's future health system should look like. They include questions about social and environmental determinants of health, health-system reform to ensure timely access and system effectiveness, the number of registered nurses and nurse practitioners required to ensure health needs can be met today and down the road, and how to pay for new programs.
In addition, RNAO analyzed the platforms of the Liberal, PC, NDP and Green parties in key areas the association identifies as crucial to advance people's health. "We believe our comparison of the various party platforms and their responses to our questions will help voters make informed choices on matters that will affect their health and the health system," says Burkoski.
"This week's leaders' debate was a disappointment with no questions asked about how to ensure our health system can meet the needs of people," says RNAO's Chief Executive Officer Doris Grinspun, adding that "nurses will work with any party that forms the next government, and the public can count on the voice of the association to continue championing the important health issues that affect people in Ontario."
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated 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 more information about RNAO and the election related materials it has prepared, visit www.RNAO.ca/elections2014
SOURCE: Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
For further information: To arrange an interview with a nurse, or for more information, please contact: Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO, 416-408-5605 (office), 647-406-5605 (cellular), mzych@RNAO.ca