Aznive Mallett asks why a process is supported when it does not give community nurses job-stability or incentives to keep them.
By Letter to the Editor
Published January 18, 2008
We praised the McGuinty government's new and insightful program to encourage graduating nurses to stay within Ontario hospitals. There is already a dramatic shortage of nurses, but as more people with acute care and chronic care requirements are discharged earlier from hospitals, along with the increasing demands as we baby-boomers age, there is a need for more community nurses.
Not to belabour the Request for Proposals (RFP) process, but why is a process supported when it does not give community nurses job-stability or incentives to keep them?
The Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) contracted agency nurses are already paid less than their hospital counterparts. Is there "transparency" to show that these two agencies, Victorian Order of Nurses and St. Joseph's visiting nursing program, which started community nursing in our City, do truly deserve to lose their contracts?
Was there an opportunity for these two to change or improve the issue(s) which caused this decision? Like our hospitals, perhaps an Accreditation process should be considered for all CCAC contracted nursing agencies.
Unfortunately, it is doubtful there will be a "seamless transfer" of services like the supporters of the current process hope. The nurses in these rejected-contract agencies will not all take positions with the favoured-contract agencies. There is a good chance most of these very-experienced nurses over 50 will retire.
This could mean a net loss of 100 experienced, hard-working nurses within Hamilton. What will happen then? Will hospitals keep people longer? Will this domino-effect cause further delays for those who need surgery or emergency attention?
A mistake has been made. All the agencies, if they were doing the job well, should continue with their contracts and be given the chance to comply with reasonable, outstanding issues.
Some years ago, the CCAC changed the VON contract to provide nursing to the peripheral areas of Hamilton, and gave the downtown core to another agency. This did not work well and so it was changed.
Prior to the creation of the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), each City was receiving services within its catchment. The recent RFP conditions required each agency to service more than one city because the LHIN represents a larger area. Is this really necessary when the agencies are already short staffed?
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