TORONTO, March 27, 2012 /CNW/ - The 2012 Ontario Budget sets out an ambitious vision for the transformation of a health care system that is suffering from unsustainable cost increases and growing demand for services associated with changing demographics and other factors. To achieve a more sustainable and higher-quality health care system, however, will require increased collaboration among care providers, a detailed strategy for health care reform and a commitment to innovation.
The Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO) says it's optimistic about a number of the high level commitments outlined in the budget, including an increased shift of resources to long-term care and home care, increased fines for those who sell tobacco to children, expanded screening programs for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer and more. At the same time, the group is voicing concerns about the sheer scope and complexity of the government's plan for health care, warning success will require a steadfast commitment to what it calls 'responsible innovation'.
"We wholeheartedly support the concept of transformation," says Dianne Martin, Executive Director of RPNAO. "But we believe transformation needs to happen through restructuring and innovation rather than staffing cuts or piling more work on nurses or other health care providers who are already dealing with strained workloads. This budget is a great first step. But now the government must provide additional detail and structure to ensure we prevent staffing pressures that help balance budgets in the short term but compromise patient care and end up costing more money in the long run."
RPNAO says that with the government's increased focus on long-term care and home care, RPNs have an important role to play in making this transformation a successful one. "RPNs represent the largest nursing workforce in long-term care and the fastest-growing category of care provider in home care," says Martin. "RPNs are skilled, knowledgeable nurses who provide high quality health care in a cost effective manner. As such, they have an incredibly important role to play in this transformation to a more sustainable and high quality health care system in Ontario."
About the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario
Founded in 1958, RPNAO is the voice of registered practical nursing in Ontario. There are more than 36,000 registered practical nurses in Ontario, playing a vital role in the province's health care system. For more information about RPNAO, its mandate and how RPNs contribute to Ontario's health care system, please visit www.rpnao.org.
For further information:
Dianne Martin, Executive Director
Tel: (905) 602-4664 ext. 226