More Frontline Patient Care, Fewer Bureaucrats
10 September 2012
“The health care system in Ontario today is complex, inefficient and difficult for patients to navigate. The ideal system would operate more like a smart phone, still complex, but simple to use because the designers have gotten the engineering right.”
– Paths to Prosperity: Patient-Centred Health Care
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario needs bold action to create jobs and grow the economy, but we also need fundamental reforms to improve core services people rely on most. Nowhere is this more evident than in the $47.3 billion we spend on health care, up to 25 per cent of which is spent inefficiently due to a lack of coordination at the local level, PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
“Change is overdue,” Hudak said. “If we continue down this path we’re on, health spending will take up 80 per cent of the budget by 2030 – the remaining 20 per cent wouldn’t even cover education.” Real reform means putting patients and their needs at the centre of every decision, empowering frontline health professionals and fewer bureaucrats in distant head offices.
Hudak made the comments during the presentation at Queen’s Park Monday of Paths to Prosperity: Patient-Centred Health Care – the third in a series of discussion papers aimed at providing positive, fresh ideas for fixing the root causes of problems facing our province.
The first two in the series, Affordable Energy and Flexible Labour Markets, have already redefined public debate in Ontario in these two important fields. All three Paths to Prosperity white papers can be found at www.ontariopc.com/paths-to-prosperity
Proposals in Patient-Centred Health Care focus on three objectives: keeping Ontarians healthy, continually enhancing the patient experience and reducing the per capita cost of health care.
Hudak was joined by Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce Grey-Owen Sound and Ontario PC Deputy Health Critic. “Ontario spends too much on health bureaucrats, money that should go to patient care. I’ve seen first-hand how multiple administration layers stand in the way of innovation and accountability. Despite all the chiefs, it often seems like no one is in charge.”
The PCs propose the elimination of two layers of costly middle management in today’s health care system – the so-called Local Health Integration Networks and Community Care Access Centres. This reform alone would remove 2,000 middle managers and use this money more efficiently on frontline patient care like nursing, personal support workers and doctors.
To streamline the system, the PC proposals would build off of existing, high-performing regional hospitals. Instead of bureaucrats making decisions, volunteer skills-based boards would form “health hubs” – directly linked to doctors, regional hospitals and other health providers. Frontline health professionals would be responsible for regional planning, procurement and performance, not government middle managers far removed from patients.
“For the first time, you would have everyone responsible around the same table, not in siloed management or budgets,” Hudak said. Other ideas include a stronger, more hands-on role for doctors, patient-centred funding for hospitals and hubs, and extending the CCACs’ case management functions across the entire continuum of care.
“We can’t grow our economy or balance the books without reforming the delivery of health care – the largest provincial program expenditure,” Hudak concluded. “This will require fewer bureaucrats and putting the patient at the centre of every decision.”
To read Patient-Centred Health Care and submit your feedback visit: www.ontariopc.com/paths-to-prosperity