Conservatives health promise is Back to the Harris Future

    TORONTO, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - It was Back to the Harris Future today as John
Tory pledged his number 1 priority is to rip $3 billion out of public health
care and his second priority is health care computers. This stands in stark
contrast to the McGuinty Liberal health care policy announced today - hiring
more nurses to see more patients.

    But where have we seen this before?

    Back to the Future to 1995:
    "A Harris government will replace Ontario's outdated health information
system with a "smart" system, integrated across the province." Conservatives
promised "Smart Card" technology to better manage patient data" that "will
also allow us to avoid duplication on prescriptions and tests".
    - PC Backgrounder and News Release, 1995

    Back to the Future to 1998:
    "We hope to have that passed by this spring," (Health Minister Elizabeth
Witmer) added. "That will allow the smart system to move forward."
    A smart card would, among other things, give a doctor access to a
patient's health records and allow the government to track medical services
received by the individual. Another of the touted benefits is that it would
reduce paperwork and bureaucratic annoyances for Ontarians in their dealings
with the health care system or government departments.
    - Hamilton Spectator, February 21, 1998

    Back to the Future to 2002:
    "...the Ministry (of Health) did not follow the requirements for an open
tender process on...multi-million-dollar information technology projects that
were under development....As of March 31, 2002...the Ministry had engaged more
than 65 consultants...For the 2001/02 fiscal year, the Ministry had spent
approximately $12.7 million on consultants engaged on a per diem basis...the
Ministry assumed a major risk of consultants not delivering their work on time
and of cost overruns...It is therefore highly doubtful that the Ministry
obtained value for money...".
    - Provincial Auditor's Report, 2002

    If the Conservatives had put in place a 10-year plan for an electronic
health a record, we would have it by now. But instead they were too busy
firing nurses and wasting millions on consultants to be bothered.
    The McGuinty Liberals are moving forward with e-health initiatives that
will have a direct impact on patient care, such as a Diabetes Registry, and
building towards an electronic health record for all Ontarians by 2015.

For further information:

For further information: Ben Chin, (416) 961-3800 ext. 412,

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