TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2021 /CNW/ – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) says today’s provincial throne speech is a missed opportunity to address urgent issues in the province’s health-care system.
ONA notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that understaffing in long-term care has been deadly for residents. The throne speech fails to signal that this government will move more quickly to increase staffing levels and improve working conditions to attract and retain desperately needed staff. ONA has long called for a minimum of four hours of hands-on care per resident per day, and for 20 per cent of long-term care staff to be registered nurses, who have the education and skills to provide care to residents with increasingly complex care needs.
Staffing retention in all health-care facilities, such as hospitals, is also vital, says ONA. The throne speech does not mention the devastating impact that this government’s Bill 124 has had on RNs and health-care professionals working in all sectors of health care. The legislation suppresses total wage and benefit increases for RNs and health-care professionals to a maximum total of one per cent per year, for three years. These highly educated professionals have been leaving the profession due to the disrespect shown by this bill, which the Ford government has failed to repeal. The throne speech does not refer to the need to stabilize and improve morale among the health-care workforce.
Finally, there was no mention of the need to address mental health needs among health-care staff that have been caused by the pandemic. The moral injury and rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, exhaustion and burn out in health-care workers have skyrocketed.
ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care, public health, the community, clinics, and industry.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses’ Association