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Healthcare unions say crisis requires more spending

Healthcare unions say crisis requires more spending

Today, The Ontario Nurses Association, CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions and SEIU Healthcare issued a five-point plan that they want the Premier and Health Minister to implement immediately to begin to turn around the system crisis, staff up our hospitals and stop emergency room closures and the bottom line is more money.

 The measures proposed include the following:

Support the existing workforce: staff up to reduce workloads; provide mental health supports; invest in making the hospital workplace safer for staff and patients; offer full-time employment; and invest in on-site support such as childcare.

Increase wages to attract and retain staff. They want to see an end to Bill 124 which capped public-sector wage increases at one percent.

Put in place financial incentives: to discourage retirements and enhance hiring and retention. Encourage staff to work additional shifts if safe for them to do so.

Recruit with incentives for the thousands of nurses, paramedicals and others who are licensed and not working to help staff up our hospitals.

Significantly expand post-secondary spaces for health disciplines: waive tuition and provide additional financial incentives to study and practice in Ontario.

Noting that 85 percent health-care staff are female. The unions say, “it is imperative that the provincial government put ideological wage-restraint policies aside to repair the damage inflicted on a very demoralized workforce, said the unions.

Collectively, ONA, CUPE and SEIU Healthcare represent more than 120,000 Ontario hospital registered nurses (RNs), registered practical nurses (RPNs), personal support workers (PSWs), and tens of thousands more in home, community, and long-term care.

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