March 7, 2023 (Ottawa, ON) – Monday’s new report on the difficult working conditions facing health workers is the latest call for urgent action to address the dire lack of nurses and other health professionals plaguing Canada’s health care system.
The new Parliamentary report from the House Standing Committee on Health was tabled in the House of Commons on Monday, March 6.
“We are gratified the Committee heard the voices of frontline nurses and acknowledged the challenging working conditions and extreme staffing shortages facing us,” said Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “But acknowledging this crisis is only the first step. Parliament must follow up with swift action to provide relief to the thousands of nurses just hanging by a thread across the country.”
Silas said that nurses are looking for politicians to turn their positive words into concrete measures to retain nurses, who have faced such difficult conditions for so long, return nurses who have left the system, and recruit the next generation of nurses.
“When I appeared before the committee last February, I shared solutions from nurses aimed at better protecting patient care by better supporting the hard-working health professionals who deliver this care,” continued Silas. “But in the last year, we have seen far too little progress. Patient safety, quality of care and the sustainability of our entire health care system are at risk as long as nurses face dire staffing shortages and such difficult working conditions.”
Silas added that frontline nurses appreciate recent progress made by the federal, provincial and territorial governments around new funding agreements, but nurses need to see real and immediate progress. She said that Parliament and the federal government have a leadership role to play when it comes to preserving Canada’s cherished public health care system.
“Handshakes and funding deals are positive signs, but only if backed by action and accountability. The federal government has an opportunity to provide leadership by investing in new initiatives to protect patient care and address the health care staffing crisis – before it’s too late,” concluded Silas. “This must include listening to nurses and other health care workers, and make sure our public health care system is free and accessible for all. That means not-for-profit health care delivery – not allowing public dollars to be stripped from the public system and siphoned into the pockets of private investors.”
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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