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It would be hard for anyone to miss yesterday's release of the report from the Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Services which has also been named the Drummond Report for the Chair of the committee – Don Drummond. I've included the link to the full report below because the report is wide-ranging and touches almost every service or department funded by the government. I couldn't possibly offer a summary of the recommendations in a Straight Talk but I have read the chapter on health services and offer my thoughts here on what I've read. It is important to remember that the recommendations in the report are given to the Government of Ontario and it is now up to the government to select what will be done and put together an implementation plan for the recommendations it selects.
To begin, the recommendations on health will not surprise people in health care. We know that the current rate of annual increase in healthcare spending is unsustainable. We know that we need to continue to deliver more value for the funds we receive. The report stresses more integration, a smoother flow between various parts of the system, IT linkages which facilitate care, and a system of care that helps the patient throughout the course of an illness. The recommendations also stress preventative measures, investments in community health and areas such as mental health. I believe that UHN is well down this road through our integration with Toronto Rehab, our work with a variety of community agencies on the avoidance of hospital admissions and the work we are doing with our Family Health Teams to ensure that patients have a family physician. We can always do more and we will.
There is much discussion about the roles of the LHINs and the recommendation is that the LHINs take on more responsibility and be structured and staffed to do so. I think we have had great support from the TC-LHIN and I anticipate that there will be even more work to do with the TC-LHIN so that we care for the people who need our services, but also work to avoid hospital admissions.
There is mention of the work of Plexxus and the need to coordinate purchasing and back office services across organizations. I think that UHN and the member hospitals of Plexxus can be proud of the work that we've done and I take the Drummond Report as an indication that we need to do more work in many areas. The Laboratory Collaborative project is one of those areas where I believe we need to focus on creating a spectacular service for all of the hospitals in the TC-LHIN. There is also specific mention of the Kensington Eye Institute and the new palliative services offered by Kensington as modelling a way to move services from the hospitals out to the community as a lesser cost. UHN has been an essential part of the creation of both models of care and I think we are well positioned to think about more ways that we can work in with others in the community.
I would also note the mention in the report of Princess Margaret Hospital, Sick Kids and CAMH as having provincial roles and I think that also speaks to the provincial roles of other parts of UHN such as Transplant, Neurosurgery and other highly specialized services and facilities such as those in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. It may well be that we will be expected to increase our level of specialization in the future and I believe that we are well positioned in all areas of care.
As I say, it is impossible to go through over 100 recommendations in the report in a Straight Talk but I will end by saying that UHN's work has been recognized, and that we stand ready to work on the recommendations that are adopted by the government. We believe in high quality and affordable health care for all Ontarians and I know that all of you will rise to the challenges ahead as we work through the next five years. We must do this so that our children and parents will continue to receive the care they need when they need it.