Analysis: Liberals transforming health care on the backs of seniors

Ontario Minister of Health Deb Matthews laughs with former Ontario premier David Peterson, left,...

Ontario Minister of Health Deb Matthews laughs with former Ontario premier David Peterson, left, and another invited guest to the Empire Club of Canada in Toronto on January 27, 2014. (Stan Behal/QMI Agency)

Sue-Ann Levy, Queen's Park Columnist

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

TORONTO -- She told a blue-suited Empire Club crowd that two years into transforming Ontario's health-care system, she and her Liberal team have made "fundamental" improvements to how they deliver health care -- "especially" for seniors.

While they're significantly "bending the cost curve" -- Liberal-speak, I guess, for making cuts -- they've measurably improved the "quality of, and access to, health care," Liberal Health Minister Deb Matthews told 450 luncheon attendees with a straight face.

In a highly, shall we say, creative 30-minute speech -- interspersed with photos projected on a screen of Matthews wearing her concerned face as she met sick Ontarians -- she told us Ontario not only has a "excellent health-care system but they (meaning Matthews and her Liberal team) are busting the tremendous amount of turf-protection in the system and providing "responsive, innovative, patient-centred care."

(Insert laugh track here.)

Why, just last summer, she said, they made the tough decision to reform (that is, cut) how physiotherapy and exercise classes are delivered to vulnerable seniors -- a move that saved $67-million a year (the latter being my words, not hers).

Yes, we can thank Matthews and the bright lights in the health ministry for not only grossly mishandling this file but for leaving thousands of seniors in retirement homes without the necessary physio to keep them mobile and free of falls.

Their meshuggah exercise classes? I hear to this day -- nearly six months since the change -- many seniors in retirement homes can't make it to them because they're offsite or they're too frail to take advantage of them.


Videos

Photos