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LETTER: Nurses, health-care system deserve better from province

Reader urges premier to support 'demoralized nurses who have saved countless lives'
2022-05-17 typing pexels-donatello-trisolino-1375261
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On the August long weekend, emergency room closures at Ontario hospitals took place in Wingham, Listowel and Seaforth. Fourteen hospitals closed emergency rooms, beds or intensive care units due to nurse shortages.

Nurses have left the profession for greener fields or to recover from an unsustainable workload over the past few years.

On July 16, the Headwaters Hospital in Health Minister Sylvia Jones’s hometown (Orangeville) closed the emergency room (other than for imminent life-threatening situations) from July 16 at 7 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. July 17. Why? The same problem — staffing shortage.

For weeks, doctors and health-care leaders have stated that Ontario hospitals are in crisis due to nursing shortages. When asked about the health-care crisis, Minister Jones told reporters that to suggest it is a crisis is "completely inappropriate." Jones believes the Ontario system faces pressures. An expectant mother or a person having a cardiac event who drove up to a hospital emergency department only to find it closed would view the situation as more than facing pressure. Words such as ‘crisis,’ ‘unstable’ or ‘state of upheaval’ would likely come to mind.

Throughout the COVID pandemic, Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet have declared that nurses have performed heroic work. Heroes deserve to be recognized and rewarded. Premier Ford, please accept that you made a mistake when nurses’ pay was restricted to a one per cent increase in Bill 124 and repeal the bill.

Nurses are trained professionals. They have given their all for the past few years. They deserve to earn a decent living. If you need to juggle your expenditure plans, why not put your plan for highway construction on the back burner? Diverting the money from highways to demoralized nurses who have saved countless lives makes sense. In addition, it would go a long way to solving the health-care crisis that Ontario is facing.

Ron Tadman
Town of The Blue Mountains