Pharmacist takes up challenge and foregoes flattery


You had to know this would be coming. One week ago, City Scope documented a totally unsubstantiated claim by Ontario health minister Deb Matthews, tossed out at last Saturday’s liberal nomination meeting where Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands was acclaimed, that PC leader Tim Hudak is running pharmacists as candidates across the province.

An obvious jab at St. Thomas pharmacist Jeff Yurek, sporting the Tory banner in Elgin-Middlesex-London for the fall provincial vote. And a claim Matthews is unlikely to repeat beyond a room full of her supporters.

In a letter to the T-J, (read full letter here ) Yurek writes, “While I am flattered Ms. Matthews would think that I was hand selected by the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, Tim Hudak, her statement is false.

“Through a democratic process, I was elected from a field of five candidates by members of the Elgin-Middlesex-London riding association.
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Hospitals warned to ‘cleanse’ files before 2012

The chances of ever uncovering the backroom wheeling and dealing that led up to Paul Collins’ momentary lapse into retirement before re-appearing on the scene last summer in his capacity as CEO at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital now appear extremely remote at best as per this posting from the
OPSEU blog.
. . .

There are further signs that by the time hospitals are subject to Freedom of Information legislation in 2012, what’s left to get won’t be worth the effort.

QMI Agency reports that hospitals are being warned to “cleanse” their files of anything that might embarrass them before the public gets the right to access it come January 2012.

The warnings come from Toronto-based law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt. Many hospitals across Ontarioare on OH&H’s client list.

“I was astounded at the language,” Ann Cavoukian,Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, told the newspaper. “Just using the word ‘cleansing’ is highly inappropriate. It suggests shredding, eliminating, hiding – getting rid of material before the end of the year.”

Health Minister Deb Matthews said she expects hospitals to “embrace the spirit” of the legislation.

However, while this is taking place, the province itself has slipped an amendment into the budget bill that will exclude hospitals form divulging “information provided to, or records prepared by, a hospital committee for the purposes of evaluating the quality of health care and directly related programs and services provided by the hospital.”

PC candidate Jeff Yurek responds to Health Minister Deb Matthews

At the nomination meeting where Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands was acclaimed provincial Liberal candidate for Elgin-Middlesex-London, MPP Deb Matthews made a rather outlandish claim.

She suggested PC leader Tim Hudak has a true allegiance to ‘Big Pharma’ in Ontario and that’s why he’s running pharmacists as candidates across the province, a reference to popular St. Thomas pharmacist Jeff Yurek, who recently won the provincial PC nomination for EML. Read full story here.

Via a letter to the editor, Yurek responds to Matthews . . .

In response to the allegations made by the Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, it is necessary to clarify her misstatements.
While I am flattered Ms. Matthews would think that I was hand selected by the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, Tim Hudak, her statement is false.

Through a democratic process, I was elected from a field of five candidates by the members of the Elgin-Middlesex-London riding association for the provincial Progressive Conservative Party. Mr. Hudak played no role in the nomination process.

I was elected by the party membership because of their confidence in my experience and abilities. I am a husband, a father, a business owner and a healthcare professional who understands and can bring an educated and experienced point of view to Queen’s Park.

It is important to focus on the real issues in healthcare.

Dalton McGuinty has wasted over one billion dollars on the E-Health scandal and one of the top bureaucrats during the scandal was paid $763,000 in 2010, even though he quit in 2009. The bureaucracy of the Local Health Integration Networks consumes resources that would be better used for frontline healthcare.

A Tim Hudak Progressive Conservative government will put an end to E-Health waste, scrap the LHINs and reinvest the money into frontline healthcare.

Jeff Yurek
Progressive Conservative Candidate

Health unit budget a case of shuffling deck chairs


Not a good week for the guiding light over at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health. But then again, CEO Cynthia St. John hasn’t enjoyed many shining moments over the past year or so.

Following last Saturday’s revelation St. John has called in city police to investigate the actions of a dismissed inspector, we learn she was summoned to appear before Elgin county council Tuesday to shed light on the health unit’s 2011 budget.

Council has expressed concerns about a number of increases in this year’s budget versus the 2010 edition.

Specifically, a whopping increase in the service/repairs line item from $30,000 last year to $208,460 this time around.
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Election campaigns make for strange bedfellows


Picking up from last week’s accounting of who spent what in last October’s vote to occupy the mayor’s seat read here , the aldermanic race reveals Mark Cosens joined Al Riddell (unsuccessful in his bid) in the big spender category.

In total, Cosens coughed up $12,792,38 to wage his campaign — $4,500 more than any other candidate.

That amount included some interesting purchases, including $500 for buttons, donated in kind, from Patrick van Bommel of Belmont. He received $9,318.23 in contributions, with another $3,250 in supplemental filings after Dec. 31.

Key backers included MPP Steve Peters ($750), Don Cosens ($750), Lynda Cosens ($750), Bob McCaig ($750), Suzanne van Bommel($750) and Triple M Metal, Brampton ($500).
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Still waiting – Ontario Health Coalition releases home care report

From opseudiablogue | April 4, 2011

Home care has to be the most tiered health care service in Ontario. Consider that many front line care providers are not on salary, but operating as independent contractors to agencies. The agencies in turn are contracted by the Community Care Access Centres. The Community Care Access Centres sign accountability agreements with the Local Health Integration Networks, which in turn report to the Ministry of Health.

That’s a lot of layers of bureaucracy to facilitate a home care visit.

The Ontario Health Coalition released a new home care report April 4th that suggests about 30 per cent of home care costs are administrative. That may be very conservative.
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Behind the scenes financially after the 2010 municipal vote


Lost in the swirl of indignation following Round 2 of public sector salary disclosures this week were revelations contained in the financial declarations of all candidates in the 2010 municipal election.

This week, we’ll take a look at the three mayoral contestants in what proved, at times, to be a nasty battle, with the beleaguered Sutherland Press building serving as a bizarre backdrop.

Suffering through a double downside was Al Riddell, who lost at the polls and in the pocket.

According to his financial declaration, Riddell poured $17,062.69 into his bid to sit as mayor, nearly double the combined amount of the other two candidates.

That works out to nearly $6 for every vote he garnered. A poor investment for a third-place finish.
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Construction officially begins on Regional Mental Health Care, St. Thomas new forensic facility

Proposed St. Thomas facility

ST. THOMAS, ON, April 1 /CNW/ – Steve Peters, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London joined Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Care London, St. Joseph’s staff, volunteers and patients, community members and partners for St. Joseph’s forensic mental health care building’s official groundbreaking in St. Thomas.

The St. Thomas facility will be a new 233,640 square foot hospital for forensic mental health-care built on the existing lands in St. Thomas and will replace the current facility. It will provide specialized inpatient and outpatient services, including assessment, treatment, outreach and support services to individuals with a mental illness who have come into significant contact with the criminal justice system.
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