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Ontario spending $330 million a year to connect children, youth to care close to home

Ontario is investing an additional $330 million a year into pediatric health services to connect children and youth to convenient and high quality care closer to home at hospitals, clinics and community-based health care facilities across the province.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement at CHEO in Ottawa.

"It's not one-time funding, it's ongoing funding," Ford said Thursday morning.

"We know when your child gets sick the last thing you want to deal with is a backlog list or a wait list; you want care and you want it fast. That's why this new investment will be targeted at high-impact initiatives that can be implemented quickly to reduce wait lists for youth and connect more children to the care they need, when they need it."

The province says the funding will invest in 100 "high-priority initiatives" to connect children and youth to emergency care, surgeries, ambulatory services, diagnostic imaging and mental health services.

The initiatives for Ottawa and across Ontario include:

  • Hiring more pediatric surgical operating room staff to increase day surgeries and access to diagnostic imaging for children
  • Rapid access clinics for people to access instead of emergency departments
  • Eight new youth wellness hubs to fill the gap in youth addictions services and deliver a range of other services
  • Increasing access to psychosocial supports for kids with cancer and eating disorder hospitals and community centres
  • Implementing an immunization catch-up program for children and youth in eastern Ontario with CHEO and Ottawa Public Health

"The plan for connected and convenient care, we are ensuring children and families can access care easier, faster and closer to home," Health Minister and Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones said.

CHEO President and CEO Alex Munter welcomed the premier's announcement, saying there are 36,000 children and youth on the waiting list at the children's hospital in Ottawa.

"Two thirds of them are waiting longer than is clinically recommended. That affects them and anybody who has a sick child knows it affects the whole family, and missing crucial intervention windows for children can have very long-term and significant impacts," Munter said.

Munter says the solution is a "bigger box" for health care in Ottawa and across Ontario.

"Yes, we need physical capacity, but mostly we need service capacity. We need more health care workers on the job, in our clinics, in our hospitals, in our treatment centres and mental health agencies," Munter said.

"Not just more, not just bigger, but better. Today's investment will unleash the creative forces of child and youth health organizations across the province." Top Stories

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