Today Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath sent the following letter to Premier Wynne:
Dear Premier Wynne:
I am writing today to urge you to take immediate steps to bring the Ontario Nurses’ Association and nine Community Care Access Centres back to the negotiating table – and to ensure that registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and allied health professionals are treated with the respect and fairness they deserve.
Hundreds of thousands of patients and families across Ontario depend on home care every day. These vital services are an increasingly important part of our healthcare system. As hospitals close beds and eliminate frontline jobs as a result of your government’s cuts, more and more Ontarians are relying on home care to meet their needs.
Your Liberal government boasts about “transforming” home and community care, but the reality for patients is very different. Home care remains underfunded and services are fragmented. Waitlists are too long and delays are too frequent.
In recent months, patients in Windsor, Essex, London, and Ottawa have endured home care cuts that your Liberal government refuses to even acknowledge.
Patients and families deserve better. And registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and allied health professionals deserve fairness and respect.
Patients rely on these home care workers to assess their needs, coordinate their care services, and arrange long-term care placements. Each day, these professionals work to ensure that patients do not fall through the cracks. And they provide crucial direct care through Rapid Response nursing teams, mental health teams in schools, and palliative care.
Unfortunately, these healthcare professionals have been without a contract since March 31, 2014 and on strike since January 30, 2015. As the strike enters its third week, your government can no longer ignore the impact on patients.
Across the province, new patients requiring home care are experiencing delays. Hospitals acknowledge that it’s becoming more difficult to serve patients with complex needs. As the strike drags on, waitlists will continue to grow and patients will not receive the coordinated care they need. In short, patient care will suffer.
As Premier, it is your responsibility to protect patient care and ensure fairness for our dedicated healthcare professionals.
It’s time for you to recognize the damage caused by Liberal healthcare cuts and to properly fund CCACs and homecare services. I urge you to immediately bring both sides back to the table and for your government to recognize that Registered Nurses and other health care professionals working in the community deserve a contract that values and respects the services they provide.
Patients can no longer be denied the care they need, and healthcare professionals can no longer be denied the respect and fairness they deserve.
Andrea Horwath, MPP Leader of the Ontario NDP