GUEST COLUMN More health-care bureaucrats than family doctors: Tory MPP Jeff Yurek

More health-care bureaucrats than family doctors: Tory MPP Jeff Yurek | GUEST CO

After exposing the Health Minister Eric Hoskins’ plan to further grow our bureaucracy under the guise of health-system transformation, the Liberal government is now attempting to mislead the public by failing to disclose important information that impacts the health-care services Ontarians receive.

Last month, the PCs revealed the province’s Local Health Integration Networks’ plan to hire 84 high-priced vice presidents at a time when our health-care system is struggling. This is in addition to the creation of 80 sub-LHINs, where the government will no doubt hire more directors, supervisors and staff.

We need to hold the Liberals accountable for creating a “bloated bureaucracy,” that provides unnecessary micromanagement functions at enormous costs, while underfunding patient services, from mental health to health promotion.

In response, Hoskins claimed there are 3,053 health ministry staff, who also never interact with patients.

What the minister failed to mention is that there are also 763 employees at eHealth, 6,775 employees at the CCACs, 600 employees at the LHINs, 800 employees at Cancer Care Ontario, 600 employees at Ornge, at least 200 employees at Health Quality Ontario, and over 1,000 employees at Public Health Ontario.

Each of these is an agency and partner of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and each of these is funded by the people of Ontario. That brings the number to well over 13,000.

While the government ploughs ahead with an increasingly top-heavy health-care system, frontline workers are losing their jobs, patient wait times are growing, and emergency rooms are bursting at the seams.

The Ontario College of Family Physicians’ website lists that they represent 10,500 family doctors. There is more health ministry staff than family physicians in Ontario. Meanwhile, nearly 1 million Ontarians can’t find a family doctor.

Let’s be clear, this is not about a body count of bureaucrats. It is about a very different philosophy about how to best manage the precious dollars that fund our public health services.

The Liberal government and the Ontario PC Party hold very different assumptions about managing the health-care file. The Liberals believe that the knowledge about what is wrong with our health-care system and how to fix it is found at the top of the system, at the ministry of health. They’re focused on delivering more structure, and less care that Ontario patients want, desperately need, and deserve.

The PCs believes the knowledge for what is wrong with our health-care system and how to fix it is at the frontline of care delivery: Among our hospitals, our physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered practical nurses, personal support workers, and home care professionals, as well as from patients and their families.

Our priority should be patients, not paperwork. We need to focus on nurses and doctors, hospitals and good ideas from those in the trenches, not bureaucracy-led ideas and decisions.

Deploying these dollars to innovative ideas from the many organizations serving patients and from the patients themselves will truly put patients “always.”