The Economic Downturn Of The 1990s Created A Need For More Cost Effective Health Care Practices

1494 Words Dec 1st, 2014 6 Pages
The economic downturn of the 1990s created a need for more cost effective health care practices in Canada. Baumann & Blythe (2003) observed that during this time, reducing expenses became the focus for governments and institutions, and the majority of hospitals used a bookkeeping method of restructuring (p. 1566). Thus, the easy option of reducing human resources, the largest expenditure in running health care institutions, was taken without carefully planning and considering indirect or long-term outcomes (Baumann & Blythe, 2003, p. 1566). This resulted in many cuts to the nursing workforce, the largest group of health care professionals (for example, the number of registered nurses in Ontario dropped by 8000 from 1995 to 1998) (Baumann & Blythe, 2003, p.1563). Currently, Canadian hospitals are facing reduced budgets again due to efforts to contain increasing health care expenditures. Although under financial pressure, hospitals should maintain sufficient nurse staffing when restructuring to manage budgets unlike the past, as evidence shows that inadequate nurse staffing increases workload, which will negatively impact patients as well as nurses, decrease the quality of care, and create additional indirect costs.
When restructuring to balance costs, maintaining proper nurse staffing is important to have a more productive nursing workforce and provide good quality health care. Shamian et al., (2003) state that the restructuring and downsizing of the 1990s already…

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