October 6, 2021 (OTTAWA, ON) – The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) is praising an emergency summit convened by doctors and nurses to address a health care system brought to its knees by the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CFNU is echoing the recommendations of the summit organizers, and calling on governments to take urgent action to provide relief to health workers in hot zones and address chronic health staffing issues over the long term.
“This emergency summit shows that health care workers are united in our alarm about a health care system – and workforce – at its breaking point,” said Linda Silas, CFNU president. “Canada needs urgent action from our governments to provide reprieve to frontline health workers and address the critical nursing shortage.”
The summit was convened by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) to produce urgent recommendations to deal with rising COVID-19 cases that are having dire impacts on the country’s health system, such as surgical backlogs and increasing strain on an overstretched health workforce.
“It is crucial for all health care organizations, both nationally and provincially, to work together to defend the nurses, doctors and health care staff, who have been keeping our health care system afloat and who are drowning without emergency support,” said Silas.
The CFNU is calling for governments to take urgent short-term action to provide reprieve to health workers, such as deploying mobile crisis teams and providing emergency 48-hour respite breaks for health workers in hot zones.
In addition to urgent short-term supports, nurses’ unions are calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to convene a meeting of health care leaders to address chronic health staffing issues and commit to establishing a federal health workforce agency.
“Things will only get worse if governments refuse to step up by providing emergency support for nurses and health workers, and by committing to investing in long-term solutions,” said Silas.
The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing about 200,000 nurses and student nurses, and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in public health care.
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