SIMCOE, ON, Feb. 9, 2017 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is angered following notification that Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit management has cut invaluable Nurse Practitioner services provided to mothers, babies and families in the communities of Haldimand and Norfolk.
"In yet another decision that puts dollars ahead of our patients' health, this employer has chosen to cut our highly educated Nurse Practitioner and opt for the community's new mothers, babies and families to pay the price," said ONA First Vice-President Vicki McKenna, RN. "It's so disheartening to see the decisions being made that will cut the excellent care and services our NP provides to our most vulnerable group of patients."
Health unit management provided notice to ONA that it would cut the NP's position on February 8, 2017; management cited a decrease in Ministry funding to maternal & child health programs.
However, notes McKenna, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services reports no decrease to maternal and child health program funding provided to the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.
The Health Unit has one Nurse Practitioner who provides prenatal and postnatal care to many populations, including teen mothers and those who are experiencing difficulty accessing medical care. Children of women receiving prenatal or postpartum care by the Nurse Practitioner may also receive wellness care up to the age of six years. Other services provided include well baby check-ups, pregnancy testing, birth control counselling, immunization for children 0 to six years old, and cervical screening and breast exams.
"Cutting this position means no NP services for vulnerable patients and clients in the community," says McKenna. "Many patients are without a family doctor and our highly educated NP fills this gap, providing outreach services in Simcoe, Caledonia, Dunnville and Langton. NPs perform all necessary physical assessments, order laboratory tests and x-rays, diagnose and treat common illnesses and injuries, write prescriptions, and provide counselling and education. Services are provided free of charge. The end of Nurse Practitioner Services will close the Mothers Care Clinic offered to residents in Haldimand and Norfolk Counties.
McKenna urges citizens to protest the cut of this vital NP by writing or calling the health unit, their local councilor and the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "Nurses know our patients depend on our care and their health depends on it." Visit www.ona.org/hnhu to send a message. Local health unit nurses plan to raise public awareness by leafleting in the coming days.
ONA is the union representing 62,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as almost 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association