Ann Kennealy, president of Local 13 of the Ontario Nurses' Association, had a simple response to the premier's budget promise.
"Where is he
going to find them?"Kennealy
asked late Tuesday afternoon.
Not enough people are graduating from nurses schools to replace those ready to retire, said Kennealy
.At Sudbury Regional Hospital
, for instance, at least 100 registered nurses are 55 and older and could retire any time.
There are several nursing vacancies that the hospital can't fill now, said Kennealy
Unless the premier has a strategy for increasing enrolment in nursing programs and making the profession more attractive to graduates, it will be impossible to hire the number of nurses needed to care for aging Ontarians. Kennealy
said when the premier talks about hiring 9,000 more nurses, he's
referring to a combination of registered nurses and registered practical nurses.
As far as she
knows, McGuinty wasn't able to meet the commitment made during his
government's first term to hire 8,000 more nurses.Figures released by the Liberal government indicate 2,000 more nurses were hired. Kennealy
also questions whether the nursing positions McGuinty is talking about are full-time.