Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak
Credits: JONATHAN JENKINS/QMI AGENCY
"The sad reality is, if you've got a loved one in the health care system, far too often you've got to fight like hell to get anything done," PC Leader Tim Hudak said.
"We're going to change that and put patients -- not bureaucrats -- at the centre of our health care system."
Hudak said his party estimates Ontario has at least 2,000 more health bureaucrats than it needs and that he would start by scrapping local health integration networks (LHINs) and the community care access centres (CCACs). He'd replace those administrators with doctors, nurses and personal support workers.
The Tories said cutting LHINs and CCACs could save up to $800 million for frontline services but didn't supply a breakdown of where that money would come from.
It's considerably more than the $300 million the PCs said LHINs had cost "to date" in their 2011 campaign platform.
LHINs were established in 2006 to lead integration of the complex health care system but Hudak said they've been a dismal failure, saying they've missed 77% of the targets the government set for them.
He'd replace the LHINs with about 30 to 40 regional health hubs based on existing hospital corporations and led by volunteer boards.
The health care proposals are part of a series of Tory policy papers Hudak is rolling out called "Paths to Prosperity".
"There's nothing new in here except a very poorly thought out plan that will in fact dismantle oversight," Health Minister Deb Matthews said, adding LHINs haven't hit their targets because the government set a high bar.
"These are ambitious, stretch targets -- where we want to go," Matthews said.
"We're moving in that direction and they are demonstrating improvement."