London putting up up healthy resistance

The city is pushing back against a provincial proposal to dissolve local public health units and create mega-sized agencies instead, joining a wave of opposition across the province.

A panel of experts appointed by Health Minister Eric Hoskins is recommending the province establish 14 health units to replace the current 36 - writes lfpress.com.

The boundaries for the units would be the same as local health integration networks (LHINs), meaning London and Middlesex would become part of a massive health unit stretching from Tobermory to Long Point if the province adopts the panel’s recommendations.

One of city’s chief complaints — outlined in a staff report that heads to politicians for debate Tuesday — is a loss of independence.

The proposed regional units may leave health professionals with less control to address pressing needs in London, local leaders said.

Problems unique to London, such as the city’s high HIV rates, may not get the same attention when there are crises across a vast region to consider, they say.

Coun. Jesse Helmer, who chairs the board of the Middlesex-London Health Unit, said the agency is already doing a good job creating “integrated” health solutions, a key provincial goal.

“We’ve got a good track record of agencies working together. It’s not as though the health unit is off on its own in isolation. One of the reasons I think that’s working so well in London is the size and geography,” Helmer said.

He cited the HIV leadership table as an example of that collaboration, where hospitals, harm-reduction specialists, public health workers and other health professionals work closely to address the problem.

“I think we have to wonder if we can actually deliver that kind of integration, that kind of local collaboration, when we make the scale so much bigger,” Helmer said of the massive regional public health units that are being suggested.

The city is raising the alarm not only around the size of the regional units, but the loss of local control and potential challenges in forming strong relationships at the community level.

Then there’s the question of cost. What would the province pick up and what may be downloaded to municipalities?

There aren’t any answers yet, but the city — and local public health board — is concerned.

The County of Middlesex is sharing in that worry, jointly submitting a response with the city of London, once approved by council.

“It’s a pretty united front in terms of feedback to the province on this expert panel report,” Helmer said.

Jeff Yurek, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London and the Progressive Conservative health critic, has been vocal about his opposition. He said he shares the same concerns as those outlined by city staff in the report to council’s community and protective services committee.

“You’re going to really see a slow reaction time to any health crisis that does emerge. I think you’d also see the flexibility of health units to tailor their services to the local needs will be inhibited. Each area within our larger jurisdiction is different,” Yurek said.

London is one of many municipalities taking advantage of this time to weigh in on the plan during a consultation phase.

After that, it’s a waiting game while the Ministry of Health reviews feedback to the report released in July.

“I’m waiting to hear. I will continue to hope that the government is going to listen to the concerns of this sector of the health care system,” Yurek said.

mstacey@postmedia.com

twitter.com/MeganatLFPress

Ontario public health now

36 health units focusing on health of populations, community programs.

Smallest serves 34,000 people in area size of France.

Largest serves 2.7 million people

The future?

Expert panel recommends creating 14 “regional public health entities” to cover many smaller communities, better integrate population health, planning and service delivery.

New agencies would align with boundaries of local health integration networks that oversee health-care spending in Ontario.

Boards would have 12 to 15 members and local medical officers of health would report to regional leadership.

Read more news of London on our site.

lfpress.com
healthyresistance London
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
5 views in october
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
An “influential" black firefighter from London who experienced racial abuse at work today calls for others  to “step up and champion equality” as he retires after nearly 30 years.  Michael Nicholas MBE, who this week retired from London Fire Brigade, campaigned for equal rights in the workforce after experiencing “widespread” racism during his career. Hailing Mr Nicholas as the “UK’s most influential black firefighter” in a statement following his retireme...
Society
Would you trust a taxi with no driver? Taxi firm Addison Lee is betting its customers will be ready to, in London at least, in just three years' time. It has joined forces with self-driving software specialist Oxbotica, and says the tie-up means it will offer self-driving taxis in the capital by 2021. The move will pit it against rival ride-hailing app Uber, which is also planning to roll out driverless cars on its network in the future, pending regulatory...
Crime
A senior US military commander has called on the UK to take back Islamic State fighters who have been "caught on the battlefield" in Syria. Maj Gen Patrick Roberson, commander of US special ops, also called on the government to repatriate two Londoners who have been called the "IS Beatles". The UK says El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey have been stripped of their British citizenship. The government is negotiating for them to face trial in the US. Speak...
Society
A woman has died in a suspected gas explosion in north-west London. Her body was found in a first-floor flat destroyed in the blast in Fulbeck Way, Harrow, just before 01:00 BST Sunday. Another woman, a man and a baby were rescued from a second-floor flat, with the woman and child taken to hospital. About 70 firefighters tackled the flames and 40 neighbours were evacuated from their homes. The Met is investigating. The victim, believed to be in her 80s, ha...
Society
About 13 million adults in the UK live in areas where at least half of the local banks and building societies have closed, analysis by the BBC reveals. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show nearly 6,000 local branches have shut since 2010, a fall of a third. The consumer group Which? called the number of closures "alarming". Trade association UK Finance said closing a branch was a last resort when usage falls. Banks and building societ...
Society
A ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars should be brought forward by eight years to 2032, MPs have said. The government's current plans to ensure all new cars are "effectively zero emission" by 2040 were "vague and unambitious", a report by Parliament's business select committee said. It also criticised cuts to subsidies and the lack of charging points. The government said it aimed to make the UK "the best place in the world" to own an electric vehicl...
Society
London area home sales fell 15.9 per cent in September from August because of a shortage of homes to sell, and that shortage of inventory helped push up prices by 20 per cent from a year ago, the head of the London St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) said. In September, LSTAR reported 776 homes changed hands in London and St. Thomas, compared to a near-record August, when 923 homes were sold. By the numbers Homes sold in September: 776 (a drop of 6....
Society
Radical preacher Anjem Choudary, jailed for inviting support for the Islamic State group, has been released. The cleric was sentenced in 2016 to five-and-a-half years in prison. He led an extremist network linked to violent jihadists, including one of the killers of soldier Lee Rigby in 2013. Choudary, 51, has now served half of his sentence and will complete the rest under strict supervision. Police are preparing up to 25 measures to control him, the BBC...
Society
One of London's front-running mayoral candidates has already put 40 per cent more of his own money into his campaign than the $25,000 limit allowed by law, a move that could put him in jeopardy if he wins the top job, provincial and civic election officials say. One of London’s front-running mayoral candidates has already put 40 per cent more of his own money into his campaign than the $25,000 limit allowed by law, a move that could put him in jeopardy if...