I have found that there has been a tremendous increase in the Victorian Order visiting nursing service during the past few years. In 1944, in round figures, 732,000 visits were made; in 1945, 757,000 visits; in 1946, 853,000 visits, and in 1947, 906,000 visits, or an increase of 23-8 per cent in the last three years.
Supply-Health and Welfare
In 1947, forty per cent of the visits were to mothers before and after the birth of the baby for care and health counseling and for assistance to the doctor when the baby was born at home. Some 187,471 visits were made to the mothers and newborn who returned home from hospital, to demonstrate the baby's bath and establish a plan for the care of the baby. Forty-seven per cent of the visits were to medical and surgicial patients of all ages, some of them with long-term illnesses. Owing to the extension of life expectancy, people are living to a greater age, and the care of the older age group has become a major health problem. The Victorian Order cares for many of these people who do not need institutional care, and are happier in their home environment. Victorian Order nurses are taking an active part in the campaign for the prevention of cancer. They use their many opportunities to teach the importance of health examinations for early diagnosis. Last year they made 37,000 visits to give care to 1,487 patients under treatment for cancer.
The Victorian Order gives care to many patients who would otherwise need hospital treatment, and to patients discharged as soon as their condition permits, to release beds for more urgent cases. This relieves the pressure on overcrowded hospitals and reduces the cost of illness to the patient and to the community. During the year, 41,904 visits were made to patients on their return home from hospital.
The Victorian Order provides nursing care to the community at a reasonable cost which permits people in moderate circumstances to have a nursing service for which they can pay. The charge may be reduced when the patients cannot afford the full fee, and when necessary, the visit is made without charge. The service is for everyone. Every call is answered, but care is continued only when the patient is under medical treatment.
During 1947, twenty-two per cent of the visits were made to people who paid the full fee; in sixteen per cent of the visits the fee was reduced; ten per cent of the visits were paid for by insurance companies for care to policy holders, and fifty-two per cent were made without charge.
As soon as nurses are available, new organizations will be set up in several other places. This heavy demand on the Victorian Order of nursing service, the increased cost of operating and the cost of training nurses in public health, have placed an increasingly heavy burden on this order. During the past four years, the educational training of nurses alone has required 872,400. The budget for 1948 shows an estimated deficit of 843,900, and includes a further 814,000 for training 5849-3404
purposes, with consideration for an additional appropriation if suitable nurses and funds are available. Prior years I find show7 the following deficits:
1947 $ 37,458
To meet these deficits, it has been necessary to draw on capital funds to the extent, of $137,000.
The annual grant from the dominion government has remained at 813,100 since 1934, although during the period from that year to date the number of Victorian Order branches has risen from 79 to 104, an increase of 31-6 per cent. A comparison of the number of patients served shows an increase of 46-7 per cent.
I am told that the president and members of the management committee have brought this service, and the need of increased financial support, to the personal attention of the minister and the deputy minister of national health and welfare. Personally I feel, and I know the minister feels, very sympathetic toward this order. I was quite impressed this year when the minister attended the annual meeting and brought his good wishes and every feeling of sympathy toward the order, but that does not carry the order on from the financial standpoint. I feel at this stage that with the increased service which the order has given across Canada, it is definitely entitled to some consideration in the way of an additional grant. I wonder if the minister, after making the statement he did1 last year, which I believe his predecessor also made, that serious consideration would be given this item, has in fact given it that consideration. If so, why has it not resulted in a larger amount being brought in for this order?
Topic: $237,745.13 S9,635.29 $148,109.84