“Appearing at the St. Lawrence Antique Market, [George] Smitherman said . . . .”
--Liberal campaign health care release, today
Whether it’s antique Liberal ideology on health care, or an older gay gentleman at an antique show, never let it be said that Fiberal foghorn George Smitherman is afraid of looking like a stereotype.
And by the by, Smitherman is the health minister who gave the green light to two privately financed and built hospital projects in Ottawa and Brampton.
And John Tory's war room has quickly put out a release, quoting an Ontario government health official:
FACT CHECK: IMPROVING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
(Toronto, ON) – Dalton McGuinty and George Smitherman aren’t being honest when they say that allowing private facilities to provide publicly funded, single-tier health care is a bad thing for patients.
Fortunately, there’s John Leatherby of Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, who offers an honest assessment of the situation in this article from the Halifax Daily News:
“Other provinces - Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, for example - have been paying private centres to do day surgeries and diagnostic tests for years.
“Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care spokesman John Leatherby says using private clinics for simple procedures lets hospitals spend their operating-room time on more complex surgeries. That way, a hospital OR is used only for the surgeries that need the full emergency capabilities the hospital can provide.
“Does that mean it's any cheaper? Or faster?
“Leatherby says it's hard to tell. The newly opened Kensington Eye Institute, which does only cataract surgeries, has a faster turnaround time than hospitals, but isn't cheaper. Ontario pays private MRI operators less than it pays for the same service in hospitals, but Leatherby can't say how much. Diagnostic radiology, however, costs seven per cent more in a private facility than in a hospital.
“Ontario has never studied the cost of doing surgeries outside a hospital instead of in it. Leatherby says that's not the point.
“‘It allows simple surgical services to be moved outside hospital to community-based facilities, providing easier access for the patient, closer to home,’ Leatherby says.” (July 23, 2006)
Dalton McGuinty and George Smitherman will say anything to win this election – even if it means denying their own record.