Ontario Ramping Up Efforts to Reduce Surgical Wait TimesPublished on July 30, 2021
From day one, the government has been committed to ending hallway health care and building an accessible, integrated health care system organized around the needs of patients. As Ontario continues on the path to reopening and recovery, we have a plan to improve access to care and reducing wait times for scheduled surgeries and procedures across the province.
While the pandemic has been challenging for hospitals, we have made significant progress in addressing wait times for surgeries and other procedures and are in a much better situation than was expected mere months ago.
To continue the progress made to date in reducing wait times and meet future demand, the government is investing up to $324 million in new funding to enable Ontario’s hospitals and community health sector to perform more surgeries, MRI and CT scans and procedures, including on evenings and weekends, as part of a wider, comprehensive surgical recovery plan to provide patients with the care they need.
This plan will enable the health care system to operate at 110 to 115 per cent capacity and perform up to 67,000 additional surgeries and procedures as well as up to 135,000 more diagnostic imaging hours to address wait times for surgeries and procedures, improve access to care, and support the government’s commitment to end hallway health care.
The plan encompasses the entire continuum of patient care to ensure patients’ surgical and recovery care needs are met at all stages. It includes:
- Hospital care: A new investment of $300 million from the 2021 Budget dedicated to help the hospital sector recover and perform thousands more surgeries and diagnostic imaging hours, and help reduce wait times.
- Increase health system capacity through community alternatives to hospital care: A new investment of up to $24 million to increase volumes of low-risk, publicly funded surgical and diagnostic services in independent health facilities and to support the licensing of new independent health facilities for existing services.
This funding builds on investments currently underway that support integrated care across the continuum, including $1.2 million for cancer prevention and screening initiatives and $143 million to support post-hospital care.
Patients should feel safe and confident in accessing the health system and getting the care they need. This plan is one more way the government is maximizing health care capacity to ensure Ontarians can continue to have access to safe, high-quality health care.