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LHINs fighting for their existence

In response to the sharp attacks on the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) from the Progressive Conservative party,  some LHIN officials have begun to fight for their existence in the lead-up to this fall's provincial election.  

Here's some comments  from the Northeast LHIN CEO, Louise Paquette:

"Decision-makers in Toronto can't begin to understand the challenges faced by patients in Northeastern Ontario. In this region, although the LHINs are still in their infancy, we have benefited from local decision-making.  It's incumbent on us as Northerners to make sure the power stays with us."

Paquette said with the provincial election being held this fall, she's hopeful the next elected government will continue to understand the value of local decision-making.

Pacquette is treading into some very political waters.  She doesn't, however, go quite so far as Gary Switzer, CEO  of the Erie-St. Clair LHIN, who frankly declared during a dispute in August that Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak was "making this crap up".  

It is inappropriate for LHIN bosses to join the political debate.  But it was probably inevitable: the LHINs were designed so that the government could distance itself from unpopular health care decisions.  They were designed to hand over political decisions to non-politicians. 

LHIN officials may figure that they have little to lose by getting involved in the politics, given that the Progressive Conservatives say they will shut the LHINs down.  And even more so as the Progressive Conservative attacks on the LHINs are pretty much cheap shots -- laughably suggesting health care services can be coordinated without incurring costs.  

The debate needs to be on a more serious level.


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