Silas: Working together on solutions, we can end the health care staffing crisis
November 2, 2022 (Ottawa, ON) – The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) is working with a newly formed Health Canada Coalition to take meaningful action for health care workers, and address the dire bleed of nurses and other workers from the public health care system.
“After years of advocacy on the impacts of the ever-growing staffing shortage, nurses have felt ignored. Many have felt so hopeless about working conditions that they’ve left a profession they loved,” explained Linda Silas, CFNU president. “This is why today’s Coalition with Health Canada is so crucial. If we want to guarantee quality, timely and safe patient care in every sector, nurses need to be heard. Our voices will help shape the action and policy we truly need to create health care working conditions where both patients and workers can thrive.”
A collaborative action-oriented government coalition with health care workers and advocates was one of the key asks Canada’s nurses brought to an October meeting between provincial nurse union leaders, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos, and Minister of Seniors Kamal Khera.
“This coalition is a strong first step towards the collaborative action nurses told our leaders is needed,” said Silas. “It’s encouraging that Minister Duclos and Minister Khera have moved quickly to create this advisory body. Urgent action is crucial to retain nurses and put an end to the nursing shortage.”
The Coalition for Action for Healthcare Workers, which met for the first time on Tuesday November 1, included representatives from key health care groups, including nurses, doctors, personal support workers, patients, and colleges and universities.
Broadly, the group will focus on solutions to the health care staffing crisis by identifying approaches to drive pan-Canadian action and progress on policy implementation. Retention, recruitment and return of health care workers are among the first priorities for the Coalition.
“Canada has a record high of nursing vacancies. Retention efforts that focus on the root causes of the nursing shortage are critical to turning the tide on the crisis plaguing Canada’s health care system,” said Silas. “Retention strategies are key to keeping experienced nurses employed, guaranteeing safe patient care, and safely recruiting new nurses. With a coordinated and well-funded approach and a focus on data-backed health care planning, we can ensure people in Canada have reliable access to the care they need for generations to come.”
The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing Canada’s frontline nurses in every sector of health care – from home care, LTC, community and acute care, including nursing students – and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.
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