Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU)

June 18, 2012 16:41 ET

CFNU Calls for Safe Staffing, Congratulates the CNA on Release of National Expert Commission Final Report

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 18, 2012) - The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) congratulates the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA)'s National Expert Commission for its transformative report, A nursing call to action: the health of our nation, the future of our health system. The CFNU welcomes the National Expert Commission's framework, "better health, better care, better value and best nursing."

"The Canadian Nurses Association National Expert Commission is to be congratulated for providing a framework of better health, better care, better value and best nursing to discussions of health care reform," says Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

The Commission makes a number of recommendations which the CFNU applauds, including:

  • Addressing the social determinants of health
  • Ensuring primary health care access for all
  • Bringing pharmacare under medicare
  • Federal funding and development of a national home care and palliative care program
  • Integration across the continuum of care
  • Increasing public financing across the continuum of care
  • Safer, higher quality of care

The Commission found that nurses are underemployed and underutilized, however, over utilization of the existing workforce is a problem, particularly in acute and long-term care settings. In 2010, public-sector health-care nurses worked a total of 20,627,800 hours of overtime. Hospital over capacity is a key contributor to over utilization of the existing nursing workforce and it is having a negative impact on patients, families and health outcomes.

Returning hospitals to safe levels of care must also be a goal of a nursing call to action, and the CFNU proposes that safe staffing be both a guiding principle and an outcome of changes to health care.

A key requirement of safe staffing is decent work. The International Labour Organization defines decent work as work that delivers a fair income, security in the workplace, freedom for people to organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives, and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men. Ensuring decent work is of critical importance when looking to the expansion of home care, for example, which is currently characterized by precarious, low wage employment for the majority of the workers. The CFNU welcomes the National Expert Commission call for expansion of the home and community care sector; however, the transition must ensure safe staffing across the continuum of care.

Safe staffing as a principle should also guide the assessment of delivery models both within acute care and beyond. There is much evidence linking working conditions to care conditions and linking delivery models to the quality of work and care. The CFNU will continue to bring forward evidence that shows better patient, family and community health outcomes from public and not-for-profit delivery models of care.

The CFNU looks forward to working with the CNA on the implementation of the Commission's recommendations within the context of safe staffing.

The CNA's National Expert Commission pulled together people from all walks of life.

"Governments at all levels need to pull together for better health and health care. The time to act is now, the solutions are in front of us" concludes Linda Silas.

To read the CNA recommendations and the full report online, visit: www.cna-aiic.ca/expertcommission

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) is Canada's largest nurses' organization representing 156,000 nurses. Visit our website at www.nursesunions.ca

Contact Information

  • Linda Silas, President
    Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
    613-859-4314 (cell)

    CFNU Communications
    Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
    613-526-4661