New leaked files from NDP show planning underway for health changes
Published Monday, February 4, 2019 7:59AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 4, 2019 8:16PM EST
An overhaul of Ontario’s health-care system is far beyond the draft stages, the NDP said, as the party released more leaked documents detailing the Progressive Conservative’s plans.
The NDP released three documents marked “confidential,” containing specific timelines and information on the work already performed by civil servants and the government from Dec. 13, 2018 to Jan. 22, 2019.
According to the newly-leaked documents, the Ministry of Health is working to consolidate six agencies into one health “super agency” and do away with local health integration networks (LHIN),
A slide titled “outsourcing” lists a number of services, including inspections, laboratories, licensing, devices and Ornge Air Ambulance.
The NDP cautioned that this would lead to mass privatization.
“This scheme is an unprecedented opportunity for private, for-profit corps to get their mitts on our health care system,” Horwath told reporters.
The government, it appears in the documents, will also create “MyCare Groups,” which will be responsible for providing patients with “seamless, coordinated care.”
“Patients will have a single team of providers for all their care needs and will no experience gaps in service,” the document reads.
The documents also show ongoing work to create the “super agency,” including appointing a board of directors and hiring focus groups to test names for the agency.
The NDP noted that the documents indicate the outline has been approved by the cabinet.
Responding to the NDP’s accusations on Monday, Health Minister Christine Elliott vehemently denied the services listed by opposition were being privatized.
“Ontarians will continue to access reliable, public healthcare through OHIP,” Elliott said.
“We will not be privatizing any of the services referenced today by Andrea Horwarth.”
Elliott did not respond to questions about what, if any, services were being privatized.
The leaked document also warns of several risks that come with dissolving LHINs, including a “service disruption” during the transition period and the potential for labour disruptions with the Ontario Nurses Association.
To that, Elliott vowed to focus on patient care.
“No patients are going to fall through the cracks. Patient care and patient safety are my priorities,” she said.
The health minister has maintained that the government is looking at overhaul of the health-care system, but has not made any final decisions. She insisted again on Monday that consultations are still underway.
“What we are proposing is a massive transformation of our public health care system. There are many, many aspects of it to be considered. And we want to make sure we get this right,” she said.
Elliott added: “There are always issues with any kind of transformational change that you’re going to bring forward. Some people don’t’ like change. But what the people of Ontario are telling us is that we must have change. The status quo is not an option.”
According to Elliott, the first set of documents showed a draft piece of legislation. The second set was a “public services document” that she had never before seen.