Premier Puts Health Care Results First
Ontario Will Work For Shorter Wait Times, Better Primary Care In New Health Care Talks
MARKHAM -- Ontario will focus on better results for patients instead of the same old squabbling between governments as the national debate on the funding and future of medicare heats up this summer, says Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"Ontarians want shorter waiting times for important procedures and tests: cancer care, cardiac care, joint replacements, cataracts, and MRI and CT scans," Premier McGuinty said today.
"Ontarians want a solution to the shortage of family doctors that affects more than 130 communities in our province, including some of our major cities," he said.
"Our responsibility is to do whatever it takes to deliver the results Ontarians want and deserve."
Following a recent meeting with McGuinty, Prime Minister Paul Martin called for a meeting with the premiers sometime this summer.
The summer First Ministers' meeting will also coincide with a meeting of premiers being held in Niagara-on-the-Lake on July 28-30, which will be chaired by Premier McGuinty.
In a major speech to the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, McGuinty said Ontario will bring to the table:
Leadership. Ontario will work to reach solutions, instead of playing politics, just as it did when McGuinty worked to end the stalemate over the creation of a National Health Council, which will report to Canadians.
An unwavering commitment to medicare. Ontario will fight any attempt to undermine our universal, publicly funded health care system, just as it did with the introduction of the McGuinty government's Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act, which, if passed, will ban pay-your-way-to-the-front-of-the-line health care in the province.
Clear-eyed realism about the need to sustain medicare for future generations. McGuinty said it's time to correct a "fiscal imbalance" that leaves provinces trying to cope with soaring health care costs, which are growing at a rate of eight per cent a year.
An insistence on accountability. Ontario led by example when it attached strings -- better results for patients and improved working conditions for nurses -- to an additional $385 million in hospital funding.
A desire for real reform. Ontario is investing in family health teams to provide primary care, integrated health care systems in the community and a new emphasis on illness prevention and health promotion.
A call for a coordinated, national approach to public health and infectious diseases -- in the wake of important reports on crises including the SARS outbreak and the Walkerton water tragedy.
"These are the things we bring to the Canadian discussion. These are the things we are delivering at home," McGuinty said.
"These are the things that will provide Ontarians with what they deserve: results."