Volume 92, Issue 76

Thursday, February 11, 1999


Tuition effects to be surveyed

Nurse shortage due to decrease in health care funding

Weldon academy's exit could aid campus space problem

Apologies not only outcome for Canada

Knighthood bestowed on French professor

Pressure mounts to boot spanking

Caught on campus

Nurse shortage due to decrease in health care funding

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

Nurses are calling for more money as line-ups for medical service have been getting increasingly longer.

Peggi Mace, director of communications for the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, said the problem stems not from a shortage of beds, but a lack of nurses. "There are not enough nurses in the system. By 2005 we could be well over 100,000 nurses short of supply," she said.

"Is it getting better? No. The situation is unbelievably complicated and with a decrease in funding there is no end in sight," Mace said, adding many nurses are bogged down with frustration from being overworked.

Carroll Iwasiw, director for the communications liaison office at Western's school of nursing, echoed the call for the government to increase funding to the health care sector. "More money needs to be targeted at putting full-time nurses on the job."

Iwasiw said while the school experienced a 47 per cent increase in applicants listing it as their first choice, a lack of faculty held the school back from accepting more students.

Marion Boyd, the provincial New Democratic Party health critic, said it is these situations which make it difficult for young people to choose nursing as a profession.

Maureen Farrington, director of communications for the Canadian Nurses Association, said the association agrees with the RNAO in calling for restoration of $2.5 billion in transfer payments. "Cutbacks and reforms are starting to let people fall through the cracks. We're experiencing a crisis in confidence among Canadians," she said.

Farrington added the government is not getting enough people into the profession and patients are concerned whether the health care system will be sustainable in the future. "We're facing a bumpy road ahead," she said.

But Ontario Premier Mike Harris suggested yesterday the problems aren't as severe as they appear.

"The demand is getting higher and higher and higher every day," he said. "I don't know that the situation is getting worse.

"We are massively increasing health care funding, we are increasing services and we are doing the restructuring that should have been done 10 or 15 years ago," he added.

Paul Faguy, the VP-human resources and corporate services at the university campus of the London Health Sciences Centre, said Mace's estimate of the shortage of supply was overstated. "That number seems awfully high. I don't see that much demand needed in the next five years."

Faguy added the shortage crisis does not exist in London. "We operate at about 70 to 80 per cent capacity," he said.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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Copyright The Gazette 1999