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More beds not the sole answer to Ontario's health care woes, Health Minister Christine Elliott says

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says adding more beds will not be enough to solve the ongoing problem of hospital overcrowding.

In her comments to CBC News, Elliot said the government is not bringing in two-tier health care

Ontarians will not have to pay out of pocket for any further services under the PC government's transformation of the health-care system, Health Minister Christine Elliott said in an interview with CBC Toronto's Mike Crawley. 7:18

Adding more beds will not be enough to solve the ongoing problem of hospital overcrowding, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Friday in an interview with CBC Toronto.

Elliott's comments echoed a report that was released Thursday by Dr. Rueben Devlin, who was appointed as a special adviser on health care by the Ford government.

"We need some more beds, we need more beds in the system, but we also need more community supports," said Elliott told Mike Crawley, the CBC's Queen's Park reporter.

Elliott also said the government's transformation of health-care services in the province will not include two-tier care.

The minister's comments come a day after the Opposition revealed a leaked draft of a government health-care bill that would create a "super agency."

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath warned that wording opens the door to privatization.

Elliott said Thursday that Horwath was wrong, but repeatedly refused to rule out further privatization in the province's health-care system.

She said Thursday there will not be a two-tier system, patients won't have to pay out of pocket for further services, and there will be no new private hospitals.

Elliott did not rule out further private delivery of health care within the public system — such as companies that do diagnostic testing — but says that isn't the focus of the health-care transformation.

The draft bill would allow the government to transfer the responsibilities of organizations, including local health integration networks, Cancer Care Ontario, eHealth Ontario and the Trillium Gift of Life Network to the super agency.

With files from The Canadian Press, Mike Crawley and Nick Boisvert

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