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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 22 March 2012

Letter to the Editor on Health Care Reform in Ontario

Published in the Standard Freeholder and Cornwall Daily News:

Reforming Ontario's Health Care System

Health care remains the top priority for the people of Ontario, and rightly so – it’s vital that we have strong, public health services available when we need them. The McGuinty government understands this; they also understand that more rural regions like Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry have different challenges than dense urban communities like Toronto. Thanks in no small part to the proactive leadership of our retired MPP Jim Brownell, SD&G has been experiencing a health care renaissance that’s going to provide local residents with some of the best health care in the country. We’ve seen three hospital redevelopment projects, reduced ER wait times, a new Community Health Centre (CHC), etc.

Having said that, the harsh reality is that the current health care service delivery model is unsustainable. There are too many independent silos within the system, resulting in costly duplication, gaps and overlaps. In his recent report on public service reform, Don Drummond wrote that “we need a broad revamping of the system that makes the parts work better together, so that the whole is greater than – or at the very least equal to – the sum of the parts.”

The McGuinty Government gets this and is already well on its way to fostering an integrated health care system. CHCs, Local Health Integration Networks are all part of that strategy. So too is the Aging at Home initiative and the very notion of proactive health promotion. The idea is promote a tiered system that:

1) Provides people with the tools and understanding to live healthy lifestyles, minimizing the need for health services. This includes helping seniors live in their homes for as long as possible.

2) Make the proactive pieces of health care more readily available. Aging at Home and the return of house calls to Ontario are part of this drive

3) Create collaborative health service models that give one-stop shop for a person’s basic health needs, which includes health education. This is what CHCs and Family Health Teams do

4) Help reduce hospital visitation so that hospital staff can focus on critical care needs.

It’s important to remember that health care isn’t about hospitals; it’s about patients. The McGuinty government spent much of the last two terms ensuring we have strong hospital services and reducing wait times, but were also laying the groundwork for a more preventative, proactive health care system. The future of public services isn’t in pouring more money into silos of delivery – it’s about moving forward together.

Craig Carter-Edwards
North York

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