Ontario's Progressive Conservatives will spend an additional $6.1 billion on healthcare by the end of their first term if they are elected, says leader Tim Hudak.
The Tories would find the money to pay for the increased expenditures in part by eliminating the province's Local Health Intergration Networks (LHINs), Hudak said at a Tuesday morning news conference.
The LHINs are 14 regional agencies that were set up by the Liberal government in 2007 to deliver $21.5 billion a year in health funding to hospitals, clinics, community care and long-term care homes. Hudak has frequently derided the LHINs for adding needless bureaucracy to the healthcare system.
But Transport Minister Kathleen Wynne said Hudak's announcement left out key details.
"It is not at all clear where the money is going to come from especially when he is talking in other moments about making tax cuts," she said. "So it's very difficult to really grasp how he is going to invest the amount of money he is talking about."
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has admitted the agencies need to do a better job of consulting with communities, but maintains they are crucial to get local input on health care.
The Tories also pledged on Tuesday to use the extra healthcare money to:
- Implement patient satisfaction measures.
- renovate or create 40,000 long-term care beds for seniors.
- Increase investment in home care.
The announcement comes just as the Tories prepare for this weekend's annual policy convention, an event where they are expected to lay out their vision for the province ahead of this fall's election.