Maria Babbage wrote in "Hospital budgets won't be frozen in the spring, says McGuinty" (CP, Jan.27, 2010, here):
"Ontario hospitals won't be facing a budget freeze in the spring budget, but they won't see a big cash injection either, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday.
"I can say one thing with absolute certainty: there will be more money for hospitals this year, but it won't grow at the same rate that it has in recent years," he said after touring a school in Mississauga, just west of Toronto.
"We've got to take the economy into account."
Hospitals have been bracing for a possible budget freeze after they were asked in the fall to submit draft plans using three different scenarios - no increase in funding, a one per cent increase and a two per cent increase.
The best they can hope for is a two per cent boost in base funding, which critics say won't be enough to lift Ontario's cash-strapped hospitals out of the red ink.
"(McGuinty) is running scared because he realizes that people want to see decently funded hospitals with good services," said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
"So whether it's zero, one or two, I think the reality is that the government has to acknowledge that hospitals are necessary in our communities and they're services that people want to see funded and want to see funded properly so that they can get the care for themselves and their loved ones."
Even a two per cent increase will be a "challenge" for Ontario hospitals, which are already among the most efficient in the country, because inflation will be closer to three per cent, said Tom Closson, president of the Ontario Hospital Association.
"Even at two per cent funding, hospitals would have to find one per cent operational efficiency, plus they'dhave to address the deficits that they already have," he said.
"Going lower than two per cent will have an impact on service, there's no doubt in my mind."
Even though Ontario hospitals are forbidden from running deficits by law, more than a third - 61 in total - were in the red last spring, amounting to a $154-million shortfall. Many received waivers because they've agreed to eliminate their deficits.
But critics say balancing the books is putting lives at risk because hospitals are forced to close beds, shut emergency rooms and cut staff to save money.
Many have pointed to the death of an 18-year-old girl in the Niagara area as a tragedy that could have been avoided if two emergency rooms in her community had remained open.
Injured in a car crash, Reilly Anzovino, died Dec. 27 just as the ambulance carrying her reached the hospital in Welland, Ont., about 20 kilometres from the accident scene. The emergency room in Fort Erie, some five kilometres closer, was closed last year as part of a controversial hospital restructuring plan.
Anzovino's family have been joined by local politicians, labour groups and health-care advocates in calling for a coroner's inquest into whether the closure of emergency rooms in Fort Erie and Port Colborne played any role in her death.
McGuinty and Health Minister Deb Matthews say they still support the decision to close the emergency rooms and turn them into urgent care centres.
Liberal backbencher Kim Craitor, whose Niagara Falls riding includes Fort Erie, said he isn't at odds with his party even though he's critical of the ER closures.
"It's not about politics," he said. "It's a silly thing for a politician to say, but it's not. It's about making sure people get the best health care."
Ontario's ombudsman, who was asked to investigate complaints that local health authorities didn't consult properly with the public before approving the restructuring plan for the Niagara hospitals, is expected to release his findings within the next few weeks."
What an unbelievable joke, an utter insult, to see Liberal MPP Kim Craitor use this line: "It's not about politics".
Kim Craitor is simply parroting Liberal MPP Jim Bradley's same line (see here) where I wrote:
"Why isn’t local St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley explaining why his Liberals are underfunding their health monopoly – right in Niagara? Is anyone even asking him? A vaporous Bradley has nothing to say about anything … why, Jimmy’s busy banning cellphone use in cars while merely phoning-in his own duties as St. Catharines MPP!
(A story in the Oct.30, 2008 St. Catharines Standard, "Rifts remain over NHS plan", read: "St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley, who previously declined to comment on the NHS plan until Kitts delivered his report, said he did not want to comment Wednesday. "I still have to read the full report, and then the LHIN has to make a decision on it," he said. "As much as possible, I think politics should be kept out of this."
Bradley now wants 'to keep politics out of health-care'??!
Is he for FLICKING real?
This from the flicking Liberal partisan who for years earned his living constantly posturing and blustering about health-care, spewing his monopolist rhetoric and his Liberal health-care duplicity far and wide? The gall of this smarmy hypocrite to now pretend and plead that somehow "politics should be kept out of this"... when "this" is ALL ABOUT politics: failing, duplicitous Liberal politics which Bradley conveniently now wants us overlook.
Hypocrite, thy name is Jim Bradley."
Not just Bradley and Craitor have shown themselves to be hypocrites - all of McGuinty's Liberals are complicit in their healthcare duplicity.
In the above Oct.30, 2008 Standard story, reporter Grant Lafleche also noted: "Bradley's Liberal counterpart, Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor, who has opposed the NHS restructuring plan, also had no comment. He said he wanted to talk to Kitts before making a statement."
So, did Craitor get his meeting with Kitts; and, what then? Did Liberal Craitor go on to stop his own McGuinty Liberal Government's health care cuts?
Incidentally: DOES ANYONE RECALL JIM BRADLEY ACTUALLY COMMENTING ON THE KITTS REPORT?!
WHAT DID BRADLEY EVER ACTUALLY SAY ABOUT IT?
I don't recall any reports of Jim Bradley's actual, detailed reaction and comments to the Oct.2008 Kitts report (or to the preceding report which no-one now talks about, the forgotten Nov.2007 CIHI report which revealed the high patient death-rate in the NHS's St. Catharines hospital, nicely hushed up by the Liberals; which somehow morphed into an "organizational review", which led to the Kitts NHS HIP, which led to the ER closures, which led to the Anzovino coroner's investigation).
So, did Bradley read the report after his Oct.30, 2008 St.Catharines Standard interview with Lafleche, and did he ever make any public comment? (I wrote of this here in Jan.2009!!)
Of course, Yoel Abells also wrote about politics being kept out of the emergency room, see here, but, certainly not in the way Craitor now wants to spin it!
'It's not about politics!!' Oh, come on, Kim.
Wow: now Kim Craitor suddenly (like Bradley before him) wants us to think that he had nothing to do with his government's Liberal Healthcare Duplicity.
In a pathetic, almost schizophrenic fashion, Craitor has skewed around his own failing Liberal health care monopolism as somehow being SOMEONE ELSE'S failing monopolism, NOT HIS OWN!! Why is this guy even a Liberal, then?
Again, re-read the first link above, and consider how Craitor desperately continues to both defend, and the same time, to distance himself from McGuinty's Liberal health care disaster in Ontario.
As I said in the earlier linked post, don't let Liberals such as Craitor kid anyone:
it is ALL ABOUT POLITICS;
IT IS ABOUT THEIR POLITICS;
IT IS ABOUT THEIR FAILED HEALTH-CARE MONOPOLISM;
IT IS ABOUT THEIR DUPLICITOUS LIBERAL IDEOLOGY.