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January 19, 2023

Frontline nurses launch campaign to put protecting public health care at the center of Budget 2023

Media Release

Silas: Unless we act on the health staffing crisis, patient care will get even worse

January 19, 2022 (Ottawa, ON) – Canada’s frontline nurses are launching a new campaign to rally public support behind urgent action to protect patient care by addressing dire nursing shortages.

“Too many Canadians aren’t getting the care they need while emergency rooms are completely overrun. While governments bicker over funding, patient care is in jeopardy,” warned Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “The upcoming federal budget is a critical opportunity to save a public health care system on the brink of collapse. We can’t delay action any longer.”

The CFNU’s new campaign aims to mobilize public support around nurses’ solutions to the growing health care staffing crisis that is putting patient care at risk. The nurses’ campaign includes a new video, digital engagement tools and ways for Canadians to demand action to address the health crisis in the upcoming budget.

“Nurses’ worst fears are coming to pass: patients are going without the care they need while conditions continue to deteriorate,” explained Silas. “Severely understaffed hospitals and emergency rooms are alarming for patients and nurses. But we can do something. Working together to implement proven strategies, we can protect patients and ensure care is there for people when they need it most.”

Silas added that nurses will continue to work with provincial, territorial and federal governments to ensure additional federal funding is tied to achieving better outcomes for patients and better working conditions for nurses.

Solutions from Canada’s nurses include new investments to spread and scale proven programs to improve health worker shortages through a federally funded Nurse Retention Fund. Recommendations to address crushing nurse workloads and improve patient safety and care include:

  • Developing mentorship programs for new graduates and young nurses
  • Mandating safe nurse-to-patient ratios in all health care facilities
  • Creating time-limited tax incentives for nurses and retired nurses to keep them in their jobs or encourage their return to the workplace
  • Establishing evidence-based mental health support for nurses

“Solving the health care crisis is within reach, but only if we act now,” concluded Silas.

Canada’s frontline nurses are inviting Canadians to support health workers and join their new campaign to protect patient care and address the health staffing crisis by visiting:  http://www.safepatient.care/budget-2023.

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The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing Canada’s frontline nurses in every sector of health care – from home care, to LTC, community and acute care, including nursing students – and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.

For more information, please contact:
Adella Khan, media@nursesunions.ca, 613-807-2942