Ap­a­thy is a risky thing

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

Ac­cord­ing to Elec­tions New­found­land and Labrador, only 62 per cent of the elec­torate casted a bal­lot in the gen­eral elec­tion in 2007 — the low­est voter turnout in over four decades.

As we find our­selves in the midst of an­other gen­eral elec­tion, it can be easy for some of us to tune out the po­lit­i­cal rhetoric, press the mute but­ton, and take a pass on the bal­lot box. But be­ing in­dif­fer­ent costs all of us in the long run.

Why should we care? Be­cause our health de­pends on it.

New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans need a sus­tain­able health sys­tem that in­creas­ingly fo­cuses on the health and well-be­ing of peo­ple and their com­mu­ni­ties. Lead­ing up to the elec­tion on Oct. 11, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Reg­is­tered Nurses of New­found­land and Labrador ( ARNNL) en­cour­ages you to urge your can­di­dates to look at health in a com­pre­hen­sive way. How do your can­di­dates in­tend to strengthen the health care sys­tem? How do they plan to shift health care re­sources from a pri­mary fo­cus on in­sti­tu­tion­al­based care to com­mu­nity-based ser­vices?

What is their ap­proach to ad­dress­ing the needs of our se­niors, as well as those liv­ing with men­tal ill­ness or chronic dis­ease?

Your vote needs to sup­port more co-or­di­nated in­vest­ments in health pro­mo­tion and dis­ease pre­ven­tion, and at­ten­tion to hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tion, healthy foods, and other so­cial de­ter­mi­nants of health — all crit­i­cal to pro­mot­ing peo­ple’s health and to the sus­tain­abil­ity of the health care sys­tem.

Sus­tain­able health care also re­quires a hard look at health hu­man re­sources to en­sure that the health needs of New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans are be­ing met, and can be met in the fu­ture.

Reg­is­tered nurses ( RNs) and nurse prac­ti­tion­ers (NPs) in this prov­ince pos­sess the ed­u­ca­tion, skills, and ex­per­tise re­quired to work with other mem­bers of a col­lab­o­ra­tive health care team to im­prove health ser­vices and to cre­ate a sus­tain­able health sys­tem. To achieve this, the health care sys­tem needs to em­brace the en­hanced role that RNs and NPs can play in such ar­eas as home and com­mu­nity care, and chronic dis­ease pre­ven­tion and man­age­ment.

A provin­cial ap­proach that sup­ports the con­cept of the right provider, in the right place, and at the right time en­sures the best health out­comes for all of us.

Health care im­pacts ev­ery­one. While there are many pos­i­tives in our health care sys­tem, there is also room for im­prove­ment. On Oct. 11, you have the power to lead change. Make your voice and your vote count for can­di­dates who will put health care first.

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