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McGuinty MPPS pass hospital secrecy clause

On May 5 six McGuinty government MPPs voted to pass the “Hospital Secrecy Clause”. The “Clause” (Bill 173, Schedule 15) a loophole which will allow hospital CEOs to deny requests for public access to an array of information regarding quality of healthcare in hospitals, was slipped into the government’s Budget Bill after lobbying of the government by the Ontario Hospital Association and insurance companies. The “Clause” has nothing to do with the budget. The “Clause” has prompted a flurry of opposition from groups in addition to the Ontario Health Coalition, including the Ontario Nurses Association, health care unions such as CUPE, CAW, SEIU and OPSEIU, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and concerned citizens.

Both NDP and Conservative MPPs on the Finance Committee voted against the “Hospital Secrecy Clause”, but were outnumbered by the Liberal MPPs. In the next step, the Budget Bill, including the “Hospital Secrecy Clause”, will go to the legislature where the government will use its majority to pass it into law. It would certainly be interesting to know how local MPPs Leona Dombrosky and Lou Rinaldi will vote on this Bill (173).

The public, patients, media and others will no longer will no longer be able to access an array of quality of care information if the CEO claims that the hospital intended the information to be confidential. Patients and those seeking information will be forced to go through a lengthy and complex appeals process. With the passing of this secrecy clause the McGuinty government undid a substantial portion of its own legislation passed last fall to expand hospital accountability in the wake of the e-health scandal.

On a local level Ontario’s Ministry of Health has given $1.2 million to Quinte Health Care to improve emergency wait times across the corporation. Trenton Memorial will receive $621,700, with Belleville receiving $574,500. This is certainly very good news for the stakeholders living in Belleville and Quinte West. Even though Bancroft and PECMH did not receive any funding their staff will receive training. Presently a number of patients from Belleville and Trenton frequent PECMH’s emergency dept. as they have found that the waiting times are much shorter.

The staff at PECMH should not be discouraged by the lack of funding at their hospital. They only need to remember that in 2005 at the Crystal Palace the then Liberal Minister of Health, George Smitherman stated that PECMH had “A VERY BRIGHT FUTURE”. The only problem is we’re not sure which side of his mouth George was speaking out of that day.

Filed Under: Uncategorized

About the Author: Fran Renoy has lived in the County for forty years so considers herself almost a native. Both she and her husband Bill consider themselves very fortunate to live in beautiful Prince Edward County. She worked at PECM hospital for thirty years as a x-ray technologist,retiring in 1998.She has a very strong passion for her local hospital and encourages others to speak up and not be afraid to do so if they feel that services are being eroded.

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    What a tricky way to get something passed by putting it in the budget
    The Liberals have done so much damage to the health care–what else can they think up. It is a good thing that we have Fran to bring these things to our attention, otherwise we would miss a lot of the stuff that is going on

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