Silas: Action to support nurses and protect the patients they care for must be top priority in health agreements
February 6, 2023 (Ottawa, ON) – As Canadians worry about getting the care they need, it is critical the Prime Minister and Canada’s Premiers usher in an era of monumental change as they meet in Ottawa this week. Canada’s nurses are demanding urgent action to bring our ailing public health system back from the brink of disaster.
“Every day we see new tragic examples of the cracks in our public health care. Nurses and patients watch as the system crumbles around them,” warned Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “Nurses are united. We know solutions are within reach. But we can’t keep just talking about them – we must act, and we must act now.”
Canada’s nurses are using rallies, newspaper ads, digital engagement, and an open letter to Canada’s Prime Minister and Premiers to bring Canadians together behind nurse-led solutions to the growing staffing crisis.
“For years, nurses have raised the alarm about grueling working conditions and the need for national and provincial leadership to address the crisis. But governments failed to act,” explained Silas. “Your grandparent in a long-term care home, your dad’s knee surgery delayed again, your child waiting hours in the cold because the waiting room is full. When nurses don’t get the support they need, it is the patients they care for who suffer.”
As Canada’s First Ministers meet in Ottawa, Canada’s nursing leaders are demanding substantial new investments in health human resources planning, with targeted funding for proven solutions, to retain nurses in our public system, return nurses who left in the face of appalling conditions, and recruit and retain a new generation of nurses. This includes mentorship programs for new graduates, mandating safe nurse-to-patient ratios and better mental health supports.
“The nursing shortage crisis has been getting worse for far too long, and patients are paying the price,” concluded Silas. “Nurses and their patients across the country are counting on the Prime Minister and Premiers to act now to strengthen public, not-for-profit health care and make sure safe and accessible quality care is there for Canadians, now and for generations to come .”
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.
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