Mark my words, this will all end in tears. The Ontario Ministry of Health just announced a new pilot project to replace bedside nurses with robots as a cost-cutting measure:
“We’re quite excited about this new initiative,” said Minister of Health Deb Matthews. “We’re looking at innovative ways to trim health care costs, and your provincial government believes this is one of the most promising.”
Queen’s Park plans up to 12 pilot projects in acute and long-term care facilities. The robots would provide direct care, such as bathing and walking patients, as well as assessing patients and handing out medications.
The Ontario Hospital Association is pleased with the new measure. “The escalating cost of nursing is causing all our members to run deficits,” said a spokesperson for OHA. “We’re glad the government is finally taking measures to contain nurses, that is, nursing costs and addressing the nursing shortage at the same time.”
The College of Nurses of Ontario, which governs Ontario’s nurses, is reportedly in discussions with government to develop a regulatory framework to allow the new robot nurses to practice.
“Clearly, it’s an issue that needs to be addressed,” a CNO insider said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We’re actively looking at a new registration category, RRN — registered robotic nurse — to ensure continued accountability and to protect the public.”
I hate to be really negative, but you have to wonder when such foolishness is going to end.