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COVID-19 is not a political issue: nursing association says governments need to work together; more nurses, PSWs needed on frontlines

According to Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, there are insufficient numbers of personal support workers, and that lack of hands on help is contributing to the exhaustion of the nurses.
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File photo.

The state of Ontario’s long-term care during the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t only impact residents of homes and facilities, but the nurses who take care of them, too. 

According to Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, there are insufficient numbers of personal support workers, and that lack of hands on help is contributing to the exhaustion of the nurses on the front lines. 

For Grinspun, to make the situation work, action is needed — no more opposition from the politicians involved. Everyone needs to work together, regardless of the party they represent because, she stresses, this is not a political issue. 

“We need to put in national standards, with funding in whichever way the feds and provinces want to do it,” she said. “I want my Premier — Premier Ford — to take the file to the Prime Minister and push national standards.”

The time to talk was over 10 years ago, Grinspun said — now is the time for action. And if politicians from all levels would have listened to the RNAO’s pleas for funding back then, Grinspun believes more lives could have been saved during the pandemic.

As part of the action that's needed, the RNAO is asking for funding to hire more nurses and PSWs across the province.

“We’re not saying we would have saved [everybody], but we would have saved a lot of [people],” she said.

This she adds, would have also given the compassionate and quality care that everyone in Ottawa, Ontario and across the country needs and deserves. 

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