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Ontario Votes 2003

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Election Day: Oct. 2, 2003   

Party Platforms: Health
by Paddy Moore

Here are the highlights of the health platforms from the Liberal, New Democratic and Progressive Conservative parties:

Liberal Health Platform                                 [top]
Pass "Commitment to Medicare Act," making two-tier medicare illegal.
Create an independent agency, called the Health Standards Council, to track delivery of medical services.
Give provincial auditor the authority to audit all health-care agencies.
Set limits for waiting times, starting with cardiac care, cancer care, joint replacements and MRI/CT scans.
Stop privatizing MRI/CT clinics and expand public MRI and CT services.
Invest in home care, taking first steps to make it an essential part of medicare.
Create 150 family health-care teams with doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and other health care professionals; teams would be available to patients around the clock.
Add generic drugs to drug formulary as soon as they're approved.
Ban ER closures and open 1,600 beds to relieve pressure on ERs.
Provide guaranteed multi-year funding for hospitals.
Create Seniors Strategy by: cancelling Tories' 15-per-cent increase in nursing home fees; setting high standards for nursing homes; strengthening home care and support for seniors' centres; include seniors health in training.
Invest in community mental health agencies and increase supportive housing options.
Increase the number of family doctors by increasing quality of working life through family health teams.
Make medical tuition more affordable, and provide loan forgiveness for those choosing family medicine.
Remove barriers preventing qualified foreign-trained doctors from practising in Ontario.
Hire 8,000 nurses, with a goal of 70 per cent working full time.
Accelerate development of the Northern Ontario Medical School and Windsor's medical satellite campus.
Create Family Medical Leave Act, allowing six weeks of unpaid leave to care for a family member.
Take preventative measures to promote healthy living. Strategy includes mandatory daily physical education in schools, support for community sports and recreation, and an aggressive anti-smoking strategy.
Provide vaccination to prevent chicken pox.
Make Chief Medical Officer of Health an independent officer.

New Democratic Party Health Platform         [top]
Create Patients' Bill of Rights and Health Care Standards Commissioner, ensuring health money "goes to patients, not tax cuts."
Full and immediate implementation of the Romanow Report.
Stop expansion of private MRI and CT clinics, diverting funds to public system.
Stop private-public partnerships the Conservatives are using to build hospitals, as in Brampton and Ottawa.
Extend universality to long-term and home-care sectors.
Create 100 new community health centres and expand existing ones (part of Romanow's primary care reform).
Reduce tuition for medical school.
Create more full-time nursing jobs, nurse practitioners, and a more "nurse-friendly" environment.
Streamline accreditation of qualified physicians from other countries.
End privatization of home care, but support independent living. Return Community Care Access Centres to community control.
Keep long-term care cost increases in line with CPP increases.
Set minimum staffing and care requirements for hospitals, community care and long-term care providers.
Provide whistleblower protection.
Bring children's and community mental health "out of the cold," building 7,200 supportive housing units and providing support in Community Health Centres.
Improve access to records for adoptees and birth parents.

Progressive Conservative Party
Health Platform                                               [top]
Build more hospitals through public-private partnerships.
Set guaranteed wait limits for general surgery, cataract surgery, cancer treatment, MRIs, and hip and knee replacement. Would provide out-of-province care if necessary to meet time limit.
Provide 40 MRI machines and 50 CT scanners over five years.
Hire more family doctors.
Hire 650 foreign-trained medical students over five years.
Eliminate barriers to practise faced by foreign-trained doctors and nurses.
Free tuition for doctors and nurses who agree to practise in under-serviced areas.
Expand Family Health Networks to get more doctors in more communities (no numbers given).
Hire 8,000 more nurses over three years.
Hire 1,000 nurse practitioners.
Bolster nurse recruitment.
Expand powers of nurse practitioners where there's no local physician.
Full-time positions for every nurse who wants one.
Three-year funding for hospitals, with increases based on population growth and hospital performance.
Parents of children with special needs will get vouchers, so they can choose the best care for their children.
Earmark money for emergency rooms.
Reduce unnecessary use of emergency rooms.
Develop an Infectious Diseases Emergency Plan.
Spend $100 million over five years to fight West Nile virus.
Create $1-billion cancer institute.
Provide $250 million over five years to reform mental health care (including children's mental health).
Extend OHIP funding for common prostate-cancer test.
Create Children's Health Network, linking children's hospitals throughout the province.
Create Shared Care Teams to provide health services for the homeless. Would have the power to remove homeless people from the streets, if deemed necessary.
Expand the TeleHealth Ontario call service to accept complaints and suggestions.
Work to integrate alternative therapies, such as traditional Chinese medicine, into the health-care system.


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