CMA Town Hall
March 31, 2011

Nursing Speaks Out on Healthcare

Edmonton – Registered nurses and nurse practitioners engaged in a dialogue about the future of Canada's health-care system during a town hall meeting held this week in Edmonton. The town hall was one of several events across the country being organized by the Canadian Medical Association and Maclean's Magazine as part of their Healthcare Transformation in Canada campaign.

"Registered nurses and all Canadians should be engaging politicians to discuss the future of our health system," says Dianne Dyer, president-elect of the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA). "We have an opportunity to broaden publicly funded health care to reflect changes in health-care delivery and fund the care provided by registered nurses and nurse practitioners as well as the care provided by our physician colleagues. Effective treatment by interdisciplinary, primary care and primary health-care teams in the community can help people of all ages, and particularly seniors and people with chronic illness, avoid expensive care in hospitals. In order for team-based care to be effective, we need to remove barriers or unnecessary steps in seeing the right health-care provider."

According to Dyer, our population is aging and a growing burden of chronic disease and increasing pharmaceutical costs are taxing the health system. Expanding the publicly funded system to include national pharmacare, home care and long term care would promote health in the community. This change would save health-care costs and reduce the need for hospital and long term care in the future.

More than 200 people attended the town hall meeting, held at the Winspear Studio. One of the panelists was Rachel Bard, CEO of the Canadian Nurses Association. "The 2004 First Ministers’ 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care will expire in 2014 which means that federal political parties should be talking about how they will strengthen our publicly funded health-care system, the most efficient and cost-effective way of providing health care," says Bard. "Strengthening primary care, developing a healthy aging strategy, and developing a plan to increase the number of primary health-care workers should all be included in every federal party platform. The federal government has a key role in addressing determinants of health. Poverty, lack of education, unaffordable housing and environmental contaminants are national issues which make it difficult for people to stay healthy."

CARNA is the professional and regulatory body for Alberta’s more than 33,000 RNs, including nurses in direct care, education, research and administration as well as nurse practitioners. Its mandate is to protect the public by ensuring that Albertans receive effective, safe and ethical care by registered nurses.

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 143,843 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

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For more information, contact:

Margaret Ward-Jack
Director of Communications
College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta
Tel 780-453-0515
Cell 780-932-1376

Jean Riverin
External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel: 800-361-8404 / 613-237-2133 ext. 553
Cell: 613-697-7507