NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will fill the 50 empty nursing jobs in Niagara Region hospitals and hire an additional 800 nurses in her first term so Niagara families get the care they need faster.
“When your mom is in the hospital, you want to know that a nurse is at her bedside. When your little one is inconsolable, you want a health care professional to take a look right away. Families aren’t asking for the moon and the stars — we all just want the best care for our loved ones, as quick as possible,” said Horwath.
“The good news is, we absolutely can help people get care faster. We can staff up, so instead of rushing patient to patient, working double-shifts and endless overtime, Ontario’s world-class nurses have the time to be there when you need them.”
Horwath and the NDP will add 30,000 nurses in Ontario with a strategy to recruit, retain and return nurses. Under that plan, Niagara’s hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities would see 800 new nurses, on top of filling the 50 vacant nursing jobs in the area today. That strategy starts with:
Expediting recognition of nursing credentials of 15,000 internationally trained nurses so they can get to work in their field faster.
Creating new jobs for late-career and recently retired nurses in supervisory and mentorship roles.
Implementing a funded Return to Nursing program to bring back the over 4,000 nurses who have left the profession.
Scrapping Ford’s low-wage policy Bill 124 and increasing health care workers’ wages.
Developing and implementing a strategy to address violence against health care professionals.
Horwath and the NDP are fully committed to funding and building the South Niagara Hospital, and preserving both the Fort Erie and Port Colborne urgent care centres and the Welland Hospital — including its round-the-clock emergency department.
For years, Liberal and Conservative governments have cut health care and fired nurses. Ontario has lost over 7,300 nurses in the last decade, and now has the lowest ratio of RNs in Canada.
After the Liberals froze hospital budgets for years and fired 1,600 nurses, the Ford Conservatives capped the pay of nurses below inflation with Bill 124 — putting Ontario into a cycle of exhausted, burnt out and disrespected nurses leaving, exacerbating the shortstaffing challenges. An Ontario Nurses’ Association survey shows a whopping 80 per cent of registered nurses feel overworked and underpaid.
Horwath and the NDP will turn that around, investing $632 million on nursing recruitment and retention over three years, starting with $198 million in year one.
“The crowded waiting rooms, the long delays to get the appointments you need, and the lack of beds for surgeries — at the heart of it are the Liberal and Conservative cuts that forced out thousands and thousands of nurses. It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Horwath. “If you want to fix health care, I want you to know that together we can do it. We can elect a government that stops the cuts, and fixes health care.”