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More than 300 Ontario nurses celebrated Nursing Week in May by urging the Ontario government to put a stop to P3 hospitals.

The nurses have written a joint letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty asking him to halt the privatization of Ontario’s hospitals.

Letter signatories include the presidents and senior executives of both the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).

Ontario is already in the middle of a serious nursing shortage,” said ONA president Linda Haslam-Stroud. “This policy will mean even less nursing care for our patients because money will be taken out of clinical budgets to pay for the profits expected by private investors and the high fees charged by consultants.”

Private financing affects the quality of nursing care,” said Lesley Bell, the ONA’s chief executive officer. “Numerous examples exist in other jurisdictions of corners being cut to make profits, resulting in fewer resources and impacting the way nurses deliver care.”

The market forces driving these kinds of business arrangements undermine the expert work that nurses, doctors and other health-care professionals provide,” added RNAO president Mary Ferguson-Paré.

It will be less expensive to finance and manage our hospitals on a non-profit basis and to maintain public non-profit services throughout the hospitals,” the letter said. “Ontario’s nurses are urging your government to stop the P3 hospital program and return to a public financing system for our hospitals.”

The McGuinty government has moved faster and farther with P3 hospital privatization than any other province in Canada, including Alberta. McGuinty has announced at least 25 P3 hospitals. All will be privately financed and some will include the outsourcing and privatization of additional hospital services and management.