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In a recent "Straight Talk" I talked about the emergency department (ED) overcrowding situation facing Ontario hospitals and a report that was prepared by a committee that I co-chair representing the Ontario Hospital Association, the Ministry of Health and the Ontario Medical Association. The recommendations in the report were designed to reduce bottlenecks in our system that inhibit patient flow into our units from the ED and out of our units to the community. Today, Health Minister George Smitherman announced a $142-million plan to shorten ED wait times building upon most of the recommendations made by the tri-partite committee. The plan includes:
The government recognizes that in order to improve ED bottlenecks and flow within hospitals, you must also increase capacity across the health care continuum. Therefore, $52.4 million allocated to community-based services is very welcome news. The new investments will be used to:
Overall, I believe this announcement is welcome news for hospitals, community providers and most importantly, patients. Improvements will take time as strategies and new resources are being implemented, but we're clearly on the right track.
As always, I welcome your thoughts on today's announcement. For more information, I encourage you to read the Ministry's news release at www.health.gov.on.ca