TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - Striking Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) registered nurses and health professionals across Ontario say that the health-care system is in chaos and patients are suffering.
Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN and 3,000 CCAC RNs and health professionals are asking how long the provincial government intends to allow patients to suffer and taxpayers' dollars to be needlessly wasted as the strike continues. Costs to other parts of the health-care system are adding up and patient horror stories continue.
"Once again, our taxpayers' dollars are unnecessarily being wasted," said Haslam-Stroud. "The CCAC employers forced our members to withdraw their services, and the government has taken a hands-off approach. Now taxpayers should be demanding to know how long patients will suffer."
As Haslam-Stroud walked the picket lines with CCAC RNs and health professionals for the past two weeks, she and others heard from supportive members of the public of the experiences of their patients. It has emerged this week that:
- Numerous referrals for the elderly into long-term care are no longer being accepted;
- Secretarial staff are being forced to try to make critical health care decisions for our patients;
- Our youth in schools are not receiving any mental health support and are being sent to their local emergency departments;
- Palliative care patients are not receiving end-of-life care at home;
- Many surgeries are being cancelled in our hospitals due to the lack of beds and ability to discharge patients with home care services in place;
- CCAC offices have been locked up and patients have not been able to access them;
- There are backlogs of hundreds of priority-needs patients requiring CCAC health professionals' care.
Haslam-Stroud says that the CCAC employers have told ONA to "negotiate. I would suggest that ONA has been the lone party who has been negotiating for the last six months. Now, the health professionals of Ontario have said that enough is enough. ONA is calling on the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour to tell us if they plan to continue to support these greedy CCAC employers who are more interested in padding their own CEOs' pockets than investing in health care for Ontarians," she said. "We are expecting a 1.4-per-cent wage increase like the 57,000 nurses in all other sectors received. We have been 'offered' a wage freeze, which would mean that CCAC RNs and health professionals would have a freeze in our wage grid for three out of four years."
ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care, the community, public health, clinics and industry.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association