CEO of South East LHIN optimistic about government’s Ontario Health super-agency plans

On Tuesday, the Doug Ford government announced its plans to revamp Ontario’s health-care system, gathering health programs and agencies into one super-agency called Ontario Health.

This amalgamation will include the merger of Cancer Care Ontario, Health Quality Ontario, eHealth Ontario, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Health Shared Services, HealthForce Ontario and 14 local health integration networks (LHINs) from around the province, including one in the southeast region.

Paul Huras, CEO of the South East Local Health Integration Network, told Global News that he is optimistic about Ontario Health.

“I think it should help with overall patient care. It should allow family doctors, especially, (to be) able to access services,” said Huras.

The provincial government’s plan is to create 30 to 50 teams across the province that will serve up to 300,000 patients. Officials say Ontario Health will streamline bureaucracy and put more resources into front-line services, however the new super-agency has many in the community worried because the merger will mean a restructuring of these organizations and the potential loss of jobs.

“Any time there is a merger or restructuring, we worry about consolidation of services and potential of job losses, absolutely,” said Brent Tousignant, vice-president of CUPE Local 1974.

“There will be some stress that many people will go through as the jobs get sorted out, but I think there’s also a lot of opportunities,” said Huras.

“There are great people, in this province and in this region, working in health care, and there are some great organizations. We really do need to enable them to work together in a co-ordinated fashion. The patients really require this, and our professionals demand it.”

At this point, the government hasn’t released any further information on exactly how the restructuring will affect jobs or when it will be launching Ontario Health, however the provincial government has said it plans on getting down to work on the project in the spring.

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