Hudak on LHINs: You Call This Progress?
11 September 2012
“Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews is defending a $1 billion health care agency that’s missing most of its performance targets… The Waterloo Wellington (LHIN) is currently failing to meet 12 of 15 goals established under provincial directive. It failed 11 of 14 targets last year. ‘What’s important to me is that we’re making progress over the long term,’ Matthews said.
- The Waterloo Region Record, July 31, 2012
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario can again have confidence in a world-class health care system, but only if we build on its existing strengths while closing down costly bureaucracies and using the money to directly serve patient needs, PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
Hudak’s comments follow Monday’s release of Paths to Prosperity: Patient-Centred Health Care – the PCs’ latest white paper on bold ideas to tackle the roots of the problems we face.
The document is already generating major debate, just like the prior two PC papers on affordable energy and labour law reform. Its focus is on de-layering middle management and empowering local health professionals to treat people – not push paper. It also proposes to give patients a single pathway through the system – not a run-around through multiple layers of bureaucracy.
“We need to build on what works,” Hudak said. “That means recognizing that Local Health Integration Networks have failed to integrate care, and building off existing infrastructure and capacity. We propose to do this by putting health hubs – run by volunteer, skills-based boards and linked to regional hospitals – in charge of local planning, funding and service.”
But Monday, the government again reflexively leapt to the defence of LHINs – despite overwhelming evidence that they are a costly failure. Health Minister Deb Matthews said, “We’ve come a long way when it comes to providing better care for patients.”
“Let’s review the facts,” Hudak said, citing annual reports released only in July on the performance of all 14 LHINs. “Every one of them failed to attain most provincially-set targets. The numbers are dismal, adding up to a 77 per cent failure rate across the entire network.”
Hudak said we need to break down silos like LHINs and Community Care Access Centres, clearing away the separate layers patients now have to deal with, and giving them access to a seamless array of services in their regions. “To continue tinkering with the system is like shoring up a foundation with a two-by-four: It may hang for a while, but it’s bound to collapse.”
We also need to remember that our health care system is for providing care, not for creating or sustaining well-paid managerial jobs for its own sake, Hudak said, “especially when the system can be managed so much better through long overdue and sensible reforms like these.”