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Many of you have probably heard the news that George Smitherman is leaving the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to become the minister of what's being described as a new "super ministry" encompassing energy and infrastructure. The new job will include tasks such as building schools, public transit, hospitals and energy generation. He also will apparently oversee the development of a nuclear power plant at Darlington.
We have enjoyed a very good relationship with Minister Smitherman over the past three years. He is a strong supporter of publicly funded health care and certainly supports excellence in providing care based on need rather than ability to pay. Minister Smitherman looked to UHN for advice and support on several occasions For example, Michael Baker and Michael Gardam have played very important roles in the government's approach to quality and safety of hospital care. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with George Smitherman and have written to thank him on behalf of UHN's staff and patients for his commitment to health care during his long tenure as Minister.
David Caplan is leaving his role as Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal (PIR) to take on the big job as Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. While leading the PIR ministry, Caplan was responsible for implementing the government's five-year, $30 B infrastructure plan. This provided him with considerable exposure to hospitals through the capital renewal process. As a Toronto MPP he is certain to be interested in the health of Toronto hospitals.
This is an exciting time for the Ontario government and for UHN as we embark on developing new relationships with the newly-appointed Minister and his staff.