Council of the Federation and Prime Minister must address the nursing crisis in Canada, says RNAO

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TORONTO, July 12, 2022 /CNW/ – At a time when every government across the country is contending with a severe nursing crisis that is putting our health-care system and Canadians’ health at risk, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is calling for an immediate increase in the Canada Health Transfer (CHT), with strings attached, following this week’s meeting of the Council of the Federation (COF)– the nation’s premiers, in British Columbia.

“With health-care costs increasing rapidly, driven largely by inflation and a growing and aging population, the federal share of total spending on health care will be down to just 20 per cent by 2030,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun. “The federal government must urgently increase its share of health-care spending to 35 per cent, with the condition that provinces and territories address the severe nursing crisis — as the only way to strengthen timely access to health services across the health continuum, nationwide.”

Grinspun notes that “health care was always meant to be a shared responsibility in our country. However, the steady decline in federal contributions to health-care funding has left the provinces paying more than 75 per cent of the bill today.” She adds that “federal stewardship is required to maintain and enhance a public health-care system oriented to health and wellbeing – and to silence the voices of those benefiting from a crisis and calling for privatization and for-profit gain in health care.” 

“Without the investment in health care, Canadians will continue to face long wait times in our health system, closures of emergency rooms, delays in accessing procedures and surgeries, and compromised long-term care and home care,” says RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway. “In addition, more nurses will reach their breaking point and will continue to leave the profession. This is why RNAO calls on the Council of the Federation to engage urgent action by the federal, provincial and territorial governments to ensure we retain and recruit nurses – especially RNs who are moving south of the border – and deal with the deepening nursing crisis facing Canada.”

As noted in RNAO’s detailed report Nursing Through Crisis: A Comparative Perspective, more than 75 per cent of Canadian nurses were classified as burnt out with higher percentages among hospital and front-line workers. Sixty-nine per cent of nurses said they planned to leave their position within five years. And, among those who indicated they wanted to leave their position, 42 per cent said they were planning to leave the profession altogether and seek opportunities elsewhere or retire.

“Nurses play a central role in the lives of Canadians and they deserve to feel valued and respected in our country,” says Holloway. “It is imperative that the CHT go up to 35 per cent from the current 22 per cent. And, we are asking that at least 10 per cent of the increase be targeted at retention and recruitment initiatives to combat the nursing crisis, with strings attached to achieve results,” she urges.  

On July 11-12, premiers from across Canada met to speak about the funding shortfall facing our health system. They reiterated their unanimous call for the federal government to increase its share of total health-care spending across Canada from 22 per cent to 35 per cent through the CHT. The premiers also stressed their commitment to addressing priorities – especially health human resources, long-term care, home care, and mental health and substance use. They emphasized that an increase to the CHT will ensure long-term stable funding from the federal government. RNAO supports these demands. At the same time, RNAO supports the federal government’s demand that strings be attached to these increases.

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public we serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

SOURCE Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario

Council of the Federation and Prime Minister must address the nursing crisis in Canada, says RNAO WeeklyReviewer

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