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Sunday, December 04, 2005 

Health News - breaking news by The Toronto Star

Local networks herald health-care revolution

A long overdue revolution is taking place in health care across Ontario. But the welcome creation of 14 "local health integration networks" to help manage the $33 billion health-care system has barely registered with most Ontarians. And the initiative has provoked only modest controversy so far at Queen's Park.Ontario is the last province to embrace the concept of having regional health authorities control dollars and levels of care. Roy Romanow, former head of a royal commission on health care, endorses the plan, as do veteran medical professionals.While Health Minister George Smitherman admits the initiative is hardly "a vote-getter," it should ensure that public dollars are better spent while ending wasteful duplication. MOre...



Liberals face rocky road on local health-care plan Lofty rhetoric, but idea is to save money

Beneath the media radar screen, which is fixed on the federal election, the Ontario government has embarked on a radical reform of the delivery of health care in the province.Specifically, Health Minister George Smitherman last week introduced legislation to empower the recently established Local Health Integration Networks.There are 14 such "networks" spread across the province. Today, they are mere shells, but under last week's legislation, they would control the purse strings for hospitals, nursing homes and home-care providers in their geographical areas — a function now performed centrally by the ministry of health at Queen's Park. MOre....


Long-term care just can't keep up

If there are common truths the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care needs to take to heart, it's these simple and certain axioms: Everybody ages; and as they do, they will need specialized care.Why, then, is it so difficult for the ministry to accept these truths?In virtually every community in Ontario, local health-care officials are struggling to cope with the increasing number of seniors and the care they need. In most cases, there simply are not enough beds available in long-term care facilities to accommodate the growing number of Ontarians who need them.In Sudbury, patients have been stacking up in the Sudbury Regional Hospital because there are no beds available in long-term care facilities for them. Last year, hospital officials applied for and received permission to begin moving these patients outside of the community, to Gore Bay, Espanola and, more recently, to Parry Sound.A ministry spokesman said the province is "working hard to find a solution." But the crisis has been worsening for more than a year and all we've got are short-term, stop-gap measures.MOre....