Throne Speech: Ontario Nurses Expect the Value of RN Care to be Recognized as Government Moves to Build a Strong Health Care System

TORONTO, Feb. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is pleased to see that today's Speech from the Throne includes promises to build relationships and treat Ontario's labour force fairly and with respect, to build a strong health care system that expands home care, to evaluate corporate tax compliance to ensure corporations are paying their fair share and to explore an increase in the Employer Health Tax exemption threshold.

However, ONA - the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals (many of whom work in home care) - also believes that a commitment to creating new RN positions is vital if the province is to have a strong health care system.

"We know that health care is a priority for Ontarians," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "It's part of the government's plan to move more care into the community, yet nurses have not been seeing much-needed new community RN positions being created to provide the complex level of care needed. Without them, we risk patients falling through the cracks."

Hospitals must also have staff and resources that are sufficient to meet complex patient needs while capacity in the home care sector is being increased, she says.

Haslam-Stroud notes the plethora of studies showing the link between an increase in RN care and a decrease in the rates of morbidity (complications) and mortality (death) in patients. Without more RNs in the system, health care is at risk, she warns.

The commitment to working fairly and respectfully with labour means that the preservation of the democratic right to collective bargaining and a 'hands-off' approach to interest arbitration must be priorities as well, says Haslam-Stroud.

"The government and the people of Ontario need to know that union members such as nurses are not a problem," she says. "They are the solution for ensuring quality care for those who need it."

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 facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information:

Ontario Nurses' Association

Sheree Bond    (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430/cell: (416) 986-8240,
Melanie Levenson   (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369, 

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