ONA to Government: Put funding where it's needed most: retaining registered

TORONTO, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN is calling for the Ontario government to use limited health-care funding available where it's going to matter most: improving patients' health outcomes by preserving registered nursing positions that are being cut as hospitals struggle to balance budgets.

In a written pre-budget submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs today, Haslam-Stroud urges the Liberal government to focus on retention of the registered nurses who are providing front-line care to our patients.

"Current government policies do not significantly support the 95 per cent of Ontario's registered nurses who are being negatively impacted by current government funding policies," says Haslam-Stroud. "These dedicated RNs have seen three million hours of registered nursing care cut from the front lines as hospitals balance their budgets. We believe that access to quality health care and retaining good health-care jobs are vital to the health of our communities."

The ONA submission presents research findings showing both the economic and clinical value of RNs to the health-care system and ensuring positive health outcomes for patients.

"Eliminating RN positions across Ontario has negatively impacted the care that patients receive in our health-care facilities," says Haslam-Stroud. "The government really needs to take a hard look at how allowing these RN positions to be cut has impacted the quality of care. Retaining RNs will go a long way to improving quality care."

Six other recommendations in the submission focus on regulations and funding around other health-care sectors, including public health, long-term care and home care. ONA is also calling on the Liberal government to fully implement the recommendations in the SARS Commission report, starting with the adoption of the precautionary principle - or erring on the side of caution - in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The full copy of ONA's submission can be found at www.ona.org.

ONA is the union representing 55,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals and more than 12,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community and industry.

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, Cellular: (416) 986-8240; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369

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