Premier Dalton McGuinty says hiring Sarah Kramer to run eHealth Ontario was a “mistake” that he deeply regrets.

McGuinty yesterday distanced himself from both Kramer and her mentor Dr. Alan Hudson, head of Ontario’s drive to reduce healthcare wait times, and former eHealth chair.

“In hindsight it is obvious that we made a mistake,” McGuinty told reporters at Northern Secondary School.

The premier, who charged Hudson with fixing the province’s woeful electronic health records strategy, said his wait-times guru convinced him Kramer was the best candidate.

McGuinty emphasized he did not hear any objections to her hiring.

“Honestly, Dr. Hudson was a strong influence in all of this. I relied heavily on him,” the premier said. “He is the No. 1 guy in Canada when it comes to wait times … He made it clear to me that if he was going to take on additional responsibility with electronic health records he thought Sarah Kramer would be indispensable.”

His comments followed a published report that the premier intervened in Kramer’s appointment as CEO over the objection of senior civil servants.

Meanwhile, eHealth is hunting for a search firm to recruit a candidate for the agency’s top job, said agency spokesperson Deanna Allen.

Allen did not know how much the contract would be worth.

Kramer and Hudson left eHealth in June. Former hospital president Rob Devitt is the interim CEO.