TORONTO A group of people concerned about the provincial government's intention to restructure the way Cancer Care Ontario works met Wednesday in Toronto. The meeting, called by the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada, a national watchdog for cancer care, included members of a number of health and cancer-related organizations with a common goal of ensuring and strengthening the voice of cancer patients in the decision-making process of Cancer Care Ontario and of promoting the development of a strong, patient-centred Cancer Care Ontario as a long-term, stably-funded provincial cancer agency.
On June 4, 2001, the Ontario Minister of Health announced the appointment of an 'implementation committee' to advise the Ministry on ways of restructuring cancer services in the Province. It will be headed by Dr. Alan Hudson, who oversaw the merger of several Toronto hospitals, including Princess Margaret, into the University Health Network. Patient groups believe that a strong patient presence and community consultation through the committee, and transparency in the planning and implementation of provincial cancer services are essential. The CACC has informed head of CCO Ken Shumak, as well as the Minister of Health, that stakeholder representation is being sought.
It was also agreed among this group that, with the increasing demand for cancer services, the provincial cancer agency must continue to be strengthened into the future with long-term committments for funding and organizational integrity; and not tied to partisan political changes.
The group called for other patients and groups to take immediate action, including:
The group is calling on patients and groups to act as quickly as possible. The Implementation Team will be formed in the next week.
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