Call your MPP about hos­pi­tal fund­ing

RE: Hos­pi­tal crowd­ing re­minds us of in­vest­ment need (Jan. 21)

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

Each week there is another story about On­tario hos­pi­tals treat­ing pa­tients in hall­ways be­cause of over­crowd­ing and over­ca­pac­ity. This is not the way for our pa­tients to re­ceive the care they re­quire.

The head of the On­tario Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion is now speak­ing out, call­ing for ad­di­tional fund­ing in the 2017 On­tario bud­get for in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity “along the con­tin­uum of care.” I’ll be much more di­rect. On­tario hos­pi­tals ob­vi­ously need more than the 2016 two-per-cent in­crease they re­ceived in 2017 if they have any hope of main­tain­ing cur­rent ser­vices.

The province’s de­ci­sion to flat­line base op­er­at­ing fund­ing for hos­pi­tals to zero-per-cent growth in fis­cal years 2012 to 2015 has con­se­quences. This de­ci­sion di­rectly led to the elim­i­na­tion of more than 1,500 reg­is­tered nurses’ po­si­tions in the last two years.

We now see that the two-per-cent in­crease in 2016 for hos­pi­tals has not been suf­fi­cient to keep pa­tients out of hall­ways. It also has not slowed down the re­place­ment/ dele­tion of RNs as the RN share of nurs­ing em­ploy­ment in On­tario has been fall­ing sig­nif­i­cantly over time — from 76.4 per cent in 2003 to 68.5 per cent in 2016.

Get­ting your care in hall­ways from fewer RNs is not the fu­ture any of us want. Call your MPP to de­mand at least a three-per-cent in­crease in fund­ing for hos­pi­tals in 2017. Your care de­pends on it. Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, pres­i­dent, On­tario Nurses’ As­so­ci­a­tion

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