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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Hudak vows to turn health-care decision-making over to doctors, nurses

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says he'll hand decision making in Ontario's health-care system to doctors and nurses rather than bureaucrats.

Speaking at a hospital in St. Catharines Saturday, Hudak repeated his promise to eliminate the "bloated" bureaucracy he says is siphoning funds from patient care.

The Tories say they'll get rid of the 14 Local Health Integration Networks set up by the Liberals to co-ordinate regional health-care funding and services.

Hudak has made cutting 100,000 public-sector jobs a cornerstone of the Tory platform — part of his plan to eliminate the $12.5-billion deficit in two years.

The Liberals and NDP have warned such steep cuts would be economically destructive and put public safety at risk.

Hudak says he can cut 10 per cent of the public service without affecting nurses, doctors and other front-line workers.

Health-care money should go to front-line care, with doctors and nurses "at the table" when it comes to local planning, Hudak said.

"We want to see those who actually are hands on and work with patients running the system...not a bunch of expensive health bureaucrats," he said.

The Tory leader said his model would build on existing hospital boards.

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