Ron St. Louis of Welland wrote in "Ombudsman needs to address 'systematic failing' ", (Welland Tribune, Nov.17, 2008):
“This is in response to two articles in Saturday's Tribune: "NHS relations unaided by adviser, says Badawey" and "Ombudsman remains mum on health system complaints."
Andre Marin, in one of his last acts as Ontario ombudsman, submitted on June 17, 2008, "The Ombudsman of Ontario Annual report for the period of April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008." It can be found online at www.ombudsman.on.ca/me.
With respect to hospitals in Ontario, it is only when the government puts in place a supervisor to oversee operations of a hospital or care facility that the ombudsman has "jurisdiction." We have not given our ombudsmen access to our hospitals as is the case in the rest of the country. What are we trying to avoid or hide? The Ontario government has not followed the lead of the other provinces.
Marin, in his report, states from 2002 to 2006, hospital supervisors were appointed four times.
But in 2007 alone, there were five takeovers -Stevenson Memorial Hospital, The Scarborough Hospital, Huronia District Hospital, Kingston General Hospital and Brampton William Osler Health Centre.
His report refers to issues in Brampton where the community protested against mismanagement and poor service at the newly constructed Brampton Civic Hospital (part of the William Osler Health Centre). This occurred less than two months after the hospital opened its doors. The government arrived with a supervisor to seize control.
Something to muse about. Do we do it now or later? You would think the government would have learned by now and moved on this, or do we call local matters Brampton Phase 2.
Marin's office received and acted on some complaints about these hospitals and continues to monitor others. He makes an interesting insight about our hospitals: "This is a time-limited, ad hoc cure for a chronic condition of inadequate oversight." Internal ombudsman do not provide independent investigative review or address systemic failings.
The Ontario ombudsman has the authority. Do we have a systemic failing? Would the ombudsman's presence help?
Why are so many industries and practices under the scrutiny of the government except hospitals in Ontario? Are they better off? Go and ask them.
Why should one of the most important institutions, which literally deals with matters of life and death, be left out of the jurisdiction of the ombudsman?
As reported in The Tribune on Nov. 6, Tom Closson, president of the Ontario Hospital Association in his keynote speech at HealthAchieve2008, chastised the Niagara politicians for "grandstanding" and for "irresponsible attempts" to block a plan that would lead to better health care.
With respect to those "irresponsible" politicians who want to block this plan - I thank you more. We should take the proper action to bring the ombudsman in and resolve this once and for all. This is a systemic failing and it needs to be addressed."
Here we have another call in Niagara (following the one I made in 2007 here, which is most likely the first call from anyone in Niagara to do so!) for the Ontario ombudsman to investigate the Liberal's health system: will MPP Jim Bradley's Liberals ignore this one as well?
What are Bradley and his Liberals trying to hide, by not allowing the ombudsman's office oversight into the MUSH (municipalities, universities, public schools, hospitals) sector? The Conservatives, the NDP socialists, and the ombudsman's office itself all requested that it be allowed access to independently examine these vats of Liberal pork-barrelling: the McGuinty Liberals refused.
As Joey Coleman wrote in "Ontario’s ombudsman calls for independent oversight of universities" (MacLean's On Campus, Jun.17, 2008):
"The provincial government immediately rejected Marin’s call for more oversight, pointing to other measures of accountability, at least in the hospital sector.
“The level of accountability that hospitals have right now, with the combination of community-based governance, local health-integration networks, and the power of the provincial auditor for investigation — (that) really is a pretty comprehensive regime of accountability,” said Health minister George Smitherman."
Good Ole' Smitty - he sounds just like his Gritty compatriot, Good Ole Jimmy Bradley - with the rhetorical Liberal BS bafflegab. "Community-based governance" - on the face of it, aren't we told that this is what the LHIN's supposedly are?? Smitty makes it sound like two separate things. Of course, conveniently left unsaid was that the LHIN's are created, funded, appointed and directed by the McGuinty Regime's Politburo, so, who are they beholden to?!
What "level of accountability" was Smitty alluding to - it's a "comprehensive" charade! More specifically, it is typically reprehensible Liberal Healthcare Duplicity.
As for the provincial auditor - the Liberals couldn't care less what he comes up with - they'll ignore the auditor just like they did Ontario Auditor Jim McCarter's 2007 critical health-care findings.
(see : Ombudsman must investigate Liberal health monopoly, Dec.30, 2007;
see: Ontario Liberals can't measure hospital surgical capacity, Dec.11, 2007)
The question is why should health-care be solely the purview of ideological Liberal monopolists?
The answer, sadly, may not even reside with the investigative powers of the ombudsman - the problem is purely political - an ideological, authoritarian Liberal government is imposing its interpretation of Tommy Douglas's failed socialism, callously avoiding scrutiny and transparency in order to falsely propagate an illusion that single-payer, state-run, monopoly-medicare is some kind of Utopian success in Ontario.