PC leader challenged to produce health care funding plan.

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Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) president Vicki McKenna, RN, has written an open letter to Doug Ford, calling on the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader to release a full-costed platform on health care and to show how the PC Party would fund its health care commitments if elected to govern.

“Ontario nurses feel we can no longer stay silent about the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party’s lack of a full health care platform and your proposal to find ‘efficiencies’ in government spending,” McKenna wrote.

“As advocates for our patients, nurses know that cutting four cents of every dollar spent by government will mean at least $6 billion in cuts.

“Because health care funding amounts to 42 per cent of government spending and due to the absence of details about your plans, we have to assume this means your proposal to find ‘efficiencies’ will result in $2.5 billion cut from health care spending. Cutting $2.5 billion in health care spending is equal to cutting 25,000 registered nurses from the bedside.

“The extreme magnitude of $2.5 billion in cuts to health care spending will mean worsening wait times for surgery and treatment in hospitals, and even longer waiting lists for long-term care beds – not to mention the escalation of ‘hallway medicine’ on a scale that you wouldn’t expect to find in even the poorest of nations.”

ONA is the union representing more than 65,000 RNs and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

The following is the letter addressed by Doug Ford by Vicki McKenna, president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association:

On behalf of over 65,000 registered nurses (RNs) and the patients we serve across Ontario, I am writing this open letter to call for the release of your full platform on health care and for your costed plan on how you will fund your health care commitments. As you know, we wrote to you on May 14, 17 days ago, asking for your commitment to hire more RNs and to fill the thousands of vacant RN positions that exist in hospitals and other parts of Ontario’s health-care system. To date, I have not received a response from you or your policy team.

Ontario nurses feel we can no longer stay silent about the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party’s lack of a full health care platform and your proposal to find ‘efficiencies’ in government spending.

As advocates for our patients, nurses know that cutting 4 cents of every dollar spent by government will mean at least $6 billion in cuts. Because health care funding amounts to 42 per cent of government spending and due to the absence of details about your plans, we have to assume this means your proposal to find ‘efficiencies’ will result in $2.5 billion cut from health care spending. Cutting $2.5 billion in health care spending is equal to cutting 25,000 registered nurses from the bedside.

We also know that other equally incomprehensible comparisons would create chaos in our health-care system and lead to dire circumstances for our patients and their families.

For example, every one per cent change in hospital funding is equal to $299 million, so cutting $2.5 billion means cutting funding for hospitals by more than eight per cent. Further, in our long-term care sector, every one per cent change in the number of beds in long-term care homes (cutting 782 beds) equals $42.8 million so cutting $2.5 billion means cutting 58 per cent of beds in Ontario long-term care homes.

The extreme magnitude of $2.5 billion in cuts to health care spending will mean worsening wait times for surgery and treatment in hospitals, and even longer waiting lists for long-term care beds – not to mention the escalation of “hallway medicine” on a scale that you wouldn’t expect to find in even the poorest of nations.

Alarming new data released during Nursing Week show that there are over 10,000 vacant RN positions in hospitals across Ontario. Data also show that, even if those positions were filled, Ontario will still have the lowest RN-to-population ratio compared to the rest of the country.

RNs have the advanced education, skill set and experience to care for the patients we see in our hospitals, long-term care homes and in the community. These are high-acuity patients, with more complex and unpredictable conditions, at risk of negative health outcomes.

It is well documented that hospitals with a higher proportion of RNs have better patient outcomes and save the system money as a result of fewer adverse events, lower rates of readmission and shorter length of stay.

Ontarians know that better care starts with registered nurses – and there is clear evidence to support this. That’s why we’re asking for your commitment to make RN staffing a health care priority by filling the vacant positions and hiring, at minimum, an additional 10,000 nurses across Ontario, over the next four years.

While our association remains non-partisan, we are prepared to work with whichever party wins the election. In the meantime, we are keeping our members informed on all parties’ commitments to RNs as part of their campaign platforms. We are unable to do this for your party, Mr. Ford, as you have not released a fully costed platform on health care. And with just seven days left to the election, Ontarians deserve to know.

We continue to extend our offer to meet with your policy team to discuss how more RNs will improve the health system in Ontario – and save money.

On behalf of members of the Ontario Nurses’ Association and our patients, I urge you to release your fully costed plan for health care so everyone knows how public health care services will be funded.

Vicki McKenna 

Reposted from: http://www.nugget.ca/2018/05/31/pc-leader-challenged-to-produce-health-care-funding-plan