Skip to main content

Tim Hudak and the demise of the LHINs: Real change or rhetoric?

For some time, Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak has called for the demise of Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).


In some ways, this echoes the call from labour unions and community health care advocates.  


Here's what Mr. Hudak said about LHINs in Coburg the other day: "This is basically a bloated layer of middle management that gets between the Ministry of Health and the doctors and nurses and the patients they are trying to care for....People at the LHINs, they have never spent a minute with patients... friends that's wrong and that is why as premier, I will close doors on the LHINs and put every penny into care for Ontario families."


While Mr. Hudak's emphasis on the bloated layer of bureaucracy squares with a right wing take on public services, it has very little to do with reality.  


The amount of money spent on the LHINs is puny compared to the real costs of health care.  And, in any case, those dollars cannot actually be turned over to health care - some body will have to coordinate health care services, even if it is not the LHINs.


So, a lot of Mr. Hudak's comments on the LHINs sound more like partisan rhetoric.   


For my money, there are two basic problems with the LHINs.  First, they are (quietly) charged with centralizing and reducing local hospital services and, second, they distance elected government officials from decisions to reduce or centralize local health care services.  


In other words, they allow governments to to evade responsibility for one of the most basic political issues (access to health care), an issue that should be fully subject to the democratic political process.


And in this way the LHINs are like the Health Services Restructuring Commission (HSRC) established by the LAST Progressive Conservative government.  THAT government used the HSRC to take the flack for unpopular decisions to cut and centralize hospital services.


So might a new Progressive Conservative government create a more open and democratic process for health care coordination?  Will they stop the cuts to local health care services?  


Well, unfortunately, there's very little sign of that. Quite the contrary...  


dallan@cupe.ca



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Six more problems with Public Private Partnerships (P3s)

The Auditor General (AG) has again identified issues in her annual reportwhich reflect problems with Ontario health care capacity and privatization.   First, here are six key problems with the maintenance of the 16 privatized P3 ("public private partnership") hospitals in Ontario:
There are long-term ongoing disputes with privatized P3 contractors over the P3 agreements, including about what is covered by the P3  (or “AFP” as the government likes to call them) contract.The hospitals are required to pay higher than reasonable rates tothe P3 contractor for  maintenance work the contractor has deemed to be outside of the P3 contract. Hospitals are almost forced to use P3 contractors to do maintenance work the contractors deem outside of the P3 contract or face the prospect of transferring the risk associated with maintaining the related hospital assets from the private-sector company back to the hospitalP3 companies with poor perf…

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.





Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 


No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…