Doctors, nurses say they were never consulted on proposed Ont. health-care reforms
Health Minister Christine Elliott is coming under fire from front-line doctors and nurses who say they were never consulted on the sweeping health-care reforms being proposed by Premier Doug Ford’s government.
Detailed planning documents, leaked by a now-fired civil servant, reveal a new centralized super health agency that would swallow up everything from Cancer Care Ontario, to E-Health and Local Health Integration Networks.
Confronted with the leaks last Thursday, Elliott claimed the government is “continuing to consult” with people who “plan and work” on the front lines of the health-care system.
“Doctors, nurses and other health care providers (are being consulted) as we build our long term transformational strategy,” Elliott said.
However, groups representing physicians and nurses say the government has yet to consult or even meet with them.
Vicky McKenna with the Ontario Nurses Association, which represents 65,000 members, says neither the Ministry of Health nor Premier Doug Ford’s advisory council, chaired by Dr. Rueben Devlin, have contacted the organization.
“How can it be, when you’ve got health-care providers at the front line, working the system now which is struggling, and yet there’s been not consultation or discussion about what seems to be a grand plan,” McKenna told CTV News Toronto.
Concerned Ontario Doctors, a physician advocacy groups consisting of 11,000 members, says there has been “absolutely zero” consultation with Ontario doctors.
“Many front-line doctors that have reached out to Premier Ford, Dr. Rueben Devlin, and Minister Elliott have been completely ignored,” Dr. Kulvinder Gill explained to CTV News Toronto.
Gill raised concerns about the plan’s impact on patient care and said the government is creating a “Titanic without a lifeboat.”
“Front-line doctors and nurses will be left to pick up the pieces with patients suffering the consequences,” Gill said.
In response to a request made by CTV News Toronto for a list of groups consulted on the health-care proposals, the minister’s office provided the following statement:
“Almost daily since being elected, Minister Elliott had been meeting with Ontarians to hear advice on tackling our enormous and significant health care issues. She has toured hospitals, long-term care homes, hospices and harm reduction sites. She has met with doctors, nurses, health care associations, frontline providers and patients, in addition to formal consultations on opioids and addictions as well as on access to mental health services. Minister Elliott has also been working closely with Dr. Devlin and the Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine, comprised of many of the province’s health care experts, as they have been also conducting consultations with sector partners, health care leaders, and patients. Moreover, she has been listening to Ontarians for more than a decade as an MPP, health critic and Patient Ombudsman. She will continue to consult with patients and the people who plan and work on the front lines of the health care system. Together, we will create a health care system that works for the people of Ontario.”