NDP leader Andrea Horwath has called for a moratorium on hospital restructuring until a full-scale review of the province’s Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) following a new damning report by Ontario’s Ombudsman.
“I’m calling for a moratorium on all hospital restructuring until the full-scale review of LHINs has taken place–and people in communities across Ontario have been heard,” said Horwath.
“People are tired of seeing scarce dollars spent on bloated CEO salaries while frontline care suffers and community voices are ignored,” she charged.
In October, 2008, Horwath wrote to Ombudsman Andre Marin asking him to investigate the failure of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN to consult on its restructuring plan that has cut emergency rooms in Port Colborne and Fort Erie, and left the Hamilton Health Sciences McMaster facility without an adult emergency room.
He found the public consultation on restructuring was woefully inadequate and random, with one member of the board implying that chats on the golf course and at the supermarket constituted public consultation.
Marin also discovered the LHIN passed an illegal bylaw that allowed it to go in-camera while making restructuring decisions.
“When the McGuinty Liberals created the LHINs, they said it was about facilitating local decision-making,” noted Horwath.
“But more than ever, it appears they were designed by a government keen on avoiding political responsibility and accountability for cuts to local health services,” she said.