TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Today's release of the Don Drummond
report on the review of Ontario's public services is chapter one in a
move to privatize Ontario's health care system, charges Michael Hurley
the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU).
By unbundling medical procedures currently available through public
hospitals into a patchwork of private clinics and pushing patients into
a home care system where 10,000 Ontarians are already waiting for
supports, the Liberals are setting the stage for health care
privatization chapter two down the road.
Earlier this winter, Drummond alluded to a two phase health care reform
process in an interview with CBC's The House. "At some point…you have
to bring in some revenues…so there has to be a second chapter," he
said. In one interview, Drummond calls the Canada Health Act
"irrelevant". Several Drummond-authored reports clearly show he is a
proponent of greater private sector involvement in health care, user
fees and even imposing a tax on Ontario's sickest - generally seniors
and the poor.
The private clinics will be funded on a fee-for-service basis, a model
that in the United Kingdom has opened the door to privatization and
increased costs by introducing new administrative costs. In Ontario,
fee-for-service compensation for ophthalmologists has already driven
their average earnings to over $600,000. Some earn more than $1.1
Weighing down public health care with extra administrative costs and
greed is not good public policy. "Working people can't afford it. In
the meantime, the doctors themselves will reap huge financial rewards.
While the health minister argues that for now these clinics will be set
up as not-for-profit there is the potential for a mega-multinational
health care outfit to buy them," Hurley adds.
Ontario's air ambulance company ORNGE was set up by the Liberals as a
not-for-profit. Even within the not-for-profit framework ORNGE
principals found ways to slip in the profit motive. "They gamed the
system for millions of dollars of public funds. It appears as though
the Liberals are willfully blind to the lessons from the ORNGE fiasco.
They are playing with fire," says Hurley.
Ontario hospitals are considered the most efficient in the country and
among the best in patient outcomes. While hospitals are far from
perfect, says Hurley, there are long-established oversight and
accountability measures both in terms of care standards and financial
"It's hard to imagine why our health minister thinks dialysis clinics
and other procedures should be done in mobile trailers and shopping
malls. Often patients have complex conditions that require a full range
of specialized supports which are now available to them in our public
hospitals. That will change drastically under this private clinic
model," says Hurley.
SOURCE Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (CUPE)
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