Yesterday, Ontario's Minister of Finance, Dwight Duncan tabled the budget for 2008 in the Legislature. I wanted to share some of the health care highlights with you.

The government is anticipating spending $40.4 billion in the health sector in 2008-2009, which is $11.1 billion more than in 2003-2004, with more allocated to family health teams, nurse practitioners and personal support workers.

The government announced $190 million over the next three years to implement a Chronic Disease Management Strategy, starting with diabetes. UHN should be especially proud of this as Catherine Zahn chaired the committee that made these recommendations to the government. The attention to chronic diseases and efforts to improve primary care also will involve an investment in e-health, which is crucial to improve patient safety and quality of care.

Also revealed was the expansion of the wait time strategy to include ED wait times. There were a number of significant investments, which over time, should help alleviate wait times in emergency departments.

The government also announced an investment of $250 million over the next five years to the Ontario Research Fund for investment in research infrastructure, such as laboratories and equipment, at Ontario institutions.

If you're interested in getting more specific details of yesterday's budget please visit: www.ontariobudget.ca​

Overall, I would say that the attention to Emergency Departments and Chronic Disease Management is very encouraging. We obviously need to see the details of how this budget is implemented - but overall it fits with the priorities of Ontario's health care system.


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