Doris Grinspun, the executive director of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) has been a tireless defender of public not-for-profit health care. We’ve seen her speak truth to power at numerous conferences and public events. When she advocates on behalf of the RNAO, she speaks plainly and passionately.
Last month the RNAO released its submission to the government on Ontario’s seniors care strategy.
The document is full of good recommendations, from strong staffing standards in long-term care homes to a broadening of the policy lens to include government’s impact on the social determinants of health.
The biggest surprise, coming out during the same month as the Hudak health care platform, is the RNAO’s recommendation that the Community Care Access Centres be scrapped and the work be redistributed to the Local Health Integration Networks and to primary care providers, such as family health teams, community health centres and nurse practitioner-led clinics.
September 10 Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, tweeted that Health Minister Deb Matthews had just announced to a nursing meeting that the moratorium on competitive bidding in home care would be made permanent. No formal confirmation of this announcement has been made by the Ministry of Health.
No services competition has successfully taken place since 2004 when then Health Minister George Smitherman announced the appointment of Elinor Caplan to conduct a review into the competitive bidding process.
The Caplan review followed months of campaigning in the Niagara region after the Victorian Order of Nurses had lost the local home care nursing contract during its centenary in the community. OPSEU-represented VON members had met with MPPs up and down the Niagara peninsula to point out problems with the competition.
The union complained that the bidding process had been tainted by the then Niagara CCAC administrator who told at least one patient in advance of the competition that VON would not be a successful bidder.