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Public Relations: Were we at the same meeting?

Public Relations: Were we at the same meeting?

Premier Ford and the Ontario Nurses’ Association held a meeting Thursday and when it was over both parties issued a news release.

From the Premier’s office:

“As we come out of this pandemic, we need to work together to repair a health care system that has been stretched to its limits. Nurses need to be at the centre of that conversation and we are pleased with the productive meeting today with the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA).

 While our government has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars to hire more nurses, we know more needs to be done to further expand staffing. That’s why we have asked the ONA for input and ideas on what we can do attract, train and retain more nurses, as well as get them into the system sooner.

These efforts must be supported by the federal government paying its fair share of health care spending. Every single province is feeling the same strain on their health care system, including capacity issues, staffing shortages and surgical backlogs. No province can do it on their own. We need the federal government to be a true funding partner by increasing the Canada Health Transfer.

The Ontario Nurses Association saw it somewhat differently in this news release by ONA President Cathryn Hoy:

“While I am deeply disappointed that the Premier did not commit to repealing Bill 124, I am hopeful that our meeting next week will be productive. We do agree with Premier Ford’s position that Canada’s federal health transfers should increase.

“While we have agreed to meet with government again next week, ONA and our members will not be strung along with endless meetings,” adds Hoy. Our front-line members who have been going above and beyond the call to care for Ontarians – not just during the pandemic, but every day – expect to see action. Their patients’ care depends on it.”

Hoy says that the Premier, Health Minister Christine Elliott and government officials met with ONA after a barrage of social media pressured him. “I am pleased to finally have had a meeting with Premier Ford,” says Hoy. “We need to have some real substance behind our future discussions with this government. The devil is in the details, and that’s what is lacking at this stage.”

Hoy says that Ontario has had the worst RN-to-population ratio in Canada for years. In fact, Ontario needs more than 22,000 RNs just to catch up to the national average. The pandemic and the actions of the Ford government and employers have worsened it considerably, including the passage of Bill 124, which emphasized the disrespect for nurses.

“Our 68,000 front-line nurses and health-care professionals are burned out and demoralized,” says Hoy. “We know this can be fixed, though it will take time to mend the system.”

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