Ontario’s official opposition leader is calling for a province-wide healthcare recruitment and retention plan to address the shortage of healthcare workers in hospital and long-term care.
New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Andrea Horwath was in London on Wednesday to speak about the health worker shortage facing the province and to reveal her party’s plan to address the issue if elected.
“Burnout is causing nurses, personal support workers, and other healthcare workers to quit smoking, leading to fewer staff and more burnout. It’s a dangerous cycle and it’s causing nurses and other healthcare workers to literally run from patient to patient while people wait in pain, ”Horwath said.
“If we don’t do the right thing on the part of healthcare workers, we will lose them, and the painful waits will get longer.”
In London alone, the NDP reports that the London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) is funded for 700 critical care beds, requiring 420 nurses. Currently, there are only 388 nurses working, leaving a deficit of 82 nurses.
To add to this, the Opposition says the rate of nurses quitting is double what it was before the pandemic.
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In mid-September, the president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions told Global News that he estimates there are more than 16,000 job vacancies in health care positions in the province.
During his visit, Horwath also criticized Prime Minister Doug Ford for passing Bill 124, which was introduced in 2019 and caps certain public sector salaries, such as nurses, to an annual increase of one percent.
“Health workers are heroes and we need more heroes,” Horwath said.
“To solve the long waits in London, we need an aggressive recruitment and retention strategy across the province.”
Horwath said the province should take the lead from provinces like Quebec, which in the past two years has spent $ 1 billion to retain nurses and hire 10,000 more personal support workers.
With provincial elections scheduled in less than a year, Horwath said that if elected his party would reform the long-term care system, eliminate for-profit residences, eliminate Bill 124 and focus on hiring and retaining new ones. health care works. .
—With files from Global’s Jamie Mauracher
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