More Frontline Patient Care, Fewer Bureaucrats: MPP Jim McDonell

September 11, 2012

“The health care system in Ontario today is complex, inefficient and difficult for patients to navigate. The ideal system would operate more like a smart phone, still complex, but simple to use because the designers have gotten the engineering right.”

– Paths to Prosperity: Patient-Centred Health Care


QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario needs bold action to create jobs and grow the economy, but we also need fundamental reforms to improve core services people rely on the most. Nowhere is this more evident than in the $47.3 billion we spend on health care. Don Drummond – the Government’s hand-picked advisor – showed how 28% of that budget is spent inefficiently and does not deliver results due to a lack of coordination at the local level, Ontario PC MPP Jim McDonell said today.

“Change is overdue,” McDonell said. “If we continue down this path we’re on, health spending will take up 80 per cent of the budget by 2030 – the remaining 20 per cent wouldn’t even come close to covering education.” Real reform means putting patients and their needs at the centre of every decision, empowering frontline health professionals and fewer bureaucrats in distant head offices.

McDonell made the comments following the release of the Ontario PCs Paths to Prosperity: Patient-Centred Health Care – the third in a series of discussion papers aimed at providing positive, fresh ideas for fixing the root causes of problems facing our province.

The first two in the series, Affordable Energy and Flexible Labour Markets, have already redefined public debate in Ontario in these two important fields. All three Paths to Prosperity white papers can be found at

Proposals in Patient-Centred Health Care focus on three objectives: keeping Ontarians healthy, continually enhancing the patient experience and reducing the per capita cost of health care.

MPP McDonell said “Ontario spends too much on health bureaucrats, money that should go to patient care. I’ve seen first-hand how multiple administration layers stand in the way of innovation and accountability. Despite all the managers, it often seems like no one is in charge.”

Tim Hudak and the PCs propose the elimination of two layers of costly middle management in today’s health care system – the so-called Local Health Integration Networks and Community Care Access Centres. This reform alone would remove 2,000 middle managers and use this money more efficiently on frontline patient care like nursing, personal support workers and doctors.

To streamline the system, the PC proposals would build off of existing, high-performing regional healthcare providers. Instead of bureaucrats making decisions, volunteer skills-based boards would form “health hubs” – directly linked to doctors, regional hospitals and other health providers. Frontline health professionals would be responsible for regional planning, procurement and performance, not government middle managers far removed from patients.

“For the first time, you would have everyone responsible around the same table, not in siloed management or budgets,” McDonell said. Other ideas include a stronger, more hands-on role for doctors, patient-centered funding for hospitals and hubs, and extending the CCACs’ case management functions across the entire continuum of care.

“We can’t grow our economy or balance the books without reforming the delivery of health care – the largest provincial program expenditure,” Jim McDonell, MPP concluded. “This will require fewer bureaucrats and putting the patient at the centre of every decision.”

To read Patient-Centred Health Care and submit your feedback visit: