Nursing profession in peril – the greater question before us

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Dear Sir

Michael Hurley, president of Ontario Council of Hospital Unions of CUPE says “the lesson’s learnt during the COVID era is that employers need to treat their employees like adults and not take the approach that these employee’s will do what they are told no matter what. Employees have a right to seek answers to their many questions, and also the right to determine what is a safe and unsafe work environment”.

For our health care professionals, there is no process to communicate their concerns and work out the demands of their employers without it becoming a Union problem.

Approximately, 79 percent of Ontario’s health care professional’s have been affected by Covid-19, so too are their jobs. Since the pandemic came upon us 1 in 5 health care workers have quit their jobs, while 18 percent quit and 12 percent have been laid off.  In September 2021, 97 registered nurses in Newmarket were laid off. That is a loss of 176,000 work hours that could have been applied to those patients in need.

In 2019 there were 439,975 employed nurses. There are far less working today. When these professionals are truly needed, it makes sense to support them, encourage and continually train them. Raises for all I say. A Registered Nurse in a hospital is likened to a soldier on the battlefield, except that professionals save lives no matter what.

Northern Ontario is suffering a shortage of nurses and doctors. That is of course commonplace. Professionals want to make the big bucks in the urban centers of our province. Hospitals are relying upon part-time nurses since their hospitals don’t have the revenue to keep needed full-time staff. While the provincial government has the funds to transfer to these essential institutions, receiving much from the Federal government, this revenue has not been dispersed as needed.

Is the Ford government holding onto these funds to show they have not excessively extended the budget limits?

Is there a movement towards breaking Health Care Workers Unions, making way for the conservatives absolute wet dream, full or particle privatizing of our health system?

The senior living portfolio has not changed.

Has the system hired new nurses and staff, and has the Ford administration made the appropriate changes and offered solutions to the problems that brought about a pandemic tsunami within Ontario’s senior home facilities?

Have those private firms that put profit before their patients been investigated, arrested and tried?

No, not really. Nor would the Ford administration do so, as these private firms are seemingly conservative supporters. There truly is no objective way to say our government is looking out, more for us, than themselves.

Remember in times of crisis, public policy can be passed behind closed doors, and with the appropriate propaganda. We the electorate may fail to notice the big picture. A provincial election is on its way, and it is those things that have not been promised to us – that needs to be identified and make our politicians accountable.

Steven Kaszab

Bradford, Ontario

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