Fact check: Improving access to health care

    TORONTO, Sept. 23 /CNW/ - Dalton McGuinty and George Smitherman aren't
being honest when they say that allowing private facilities to provide
publicly funded, single-tier health care is a bad thing for patients.
    Fortunately, there's John Leatherby of Ontario's Ministry of Health and
Long Term Care, who offers an honest assessment of the situation in this
article from the Halifax Daily News:

    "Other provinces - Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, for example -
    have been paying private centres to do day surgeries and diagnostic tests
    for years.

    "Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care spokesman John Leatherby
    says using private clinics for simple procedures lets hospitals spend
    their operating-room time on more complex surgeries. That way, a hospital
    OR is used only for the surgeries that need the full emergency
    capabilities the hospital can provide.

    "Does that mean it's any cheaper? Or faster?

    "Leatherby says it's hard to tell. The newly opened Kensington Eye
    Institute, which does only cataract surgeries, has a faster turnaround
    time than hospitals, but isn't cheaper. Ontario pays private MRI
    operators less than it pays for the same service in hospitals, but
    Leatherby can't say how much. Diagnostic radiology, however, costs seven
    per cent more in a private facility than in a hospital.

    "Ontario has never studied the cost of doing surgeries outside a hospital
    instead of in it. Leatherby says that's not the point.

    "'It allows simple surgical services to be moved outside hospital to
    community-based facilities, providing easier access for the patient,
    closer to home,' Leatherby says." (July 23, 2006)

    Dalton McGuinty and George Smitherman will say anything to win this
election - even if it means denying their own record.

For further information:

For further information: Mike Van Soelen, (647) 722-1760

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