Province's deputy minister of health resigns
The province's top health bureaucrat has resigned weeks after being grilled by a legislature committed about the problems at eHealth Ontario.
Ron Sapsford was appointed deputy minister of health in 2005, overseeing a giant department that spends $40 billion annually. He served briefly as interim CEO of eHealth. His resignation will take effect on Jan. 3.
Health Minister Deb Matthews didn't give a reason for his departure when she ackowledged it, instead saying in a statement that as "deputy minister of health, he has helped make measurable progress in the speed and quality of health care available to Ontarians."
Health Minister David Caplan tendered his resignation on the eve of a report by Auditor General Jim McCarter that set out how the province had gotten little value for the $1 billion spent so far on trying to develop an electronic health records system for the province.
Before that, former eHealth CEO Sarah Kramer and board chair Dr. Allan Hudson had resigned, as did two eHealth board members.
Opposition politicians had also been calling for Sapsford's head.
At an Oct. 21 appearance before the committee, Sapsford said, "That's a good question. Well it happened, so the answer has to be know" when asked by the NDP's France Gelinas if anyone at eHealth knew what they were doing was wrong.
He later said there were no easy answers, but the government wanted quick progress from the agency.
eHealth was plagued by dubious spending and heavy use of consultants hired through the use of untendered contracts.
As he left that appearance, Sapsford was asked why he should keep his job. "I have nothing to say on that. Thank you," he replied, adding he was only at eHealth for two months.
With files from The Canadian Press