The McGuinty government says they are committed to implementing about half of the recommendations from the Drummond Commission on the Reform of Public Services.
The other half will be subject to study (read: likely to drift away into the ether).
In health care most of that should be relatively easy given a significant number of Drummond’s 105 recommendations are already in the McGuinty government’s plan, from the implementation of a new funding formula for hospitals (Health-Based Allocation Model) to his endorsement of the government’s sketchy mental health strategy.
Given the recommendations are intended to be implemented over the next four years, it may take some time to ultimately figure out what is really in and out.
While we await release of the 400 or so recommendations of the Drummond Commission, its likely important to remember that Dwight Duncan is the finance minister of the province of Ontario, not Don Drummond.
Recent commentary has suggested the McGuinty government will likely use the Drummond Commission on public service reform as a means of lowering expectations before bringing in a budget that offers what the Premier described in last fall’s election as a more “steady hand.”
That doesn’t mean there won’t be significant pain for health care – we are already witnessing eyebrow raising cuts, including Monday’s revelation that $66 million in research grants to hospitals and universities have been eliminated. The impact will be much larger given research grants are usually collaboratively funded between different levels of government and the private sector. The Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario – representing 24 teaching hospitals – estimates the real impact to be “potentially over $360 million.”