Province of Ontario

11/30/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/30/2023 13:08

Ontario Connecting Children and Youth in the Greater Toronto Area to Care Close to Home

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TORONTO - Ontario is investing nearly $68 million to increase access to pediatric services for children and youth in the GTA so they have the care they need, when they need it, right in their own community. This is part of the Ontario government's investment of an additional $330 million each year in pediatric health services at hospitals and community-based health care facilities across Ontario.

"Our government is making record investments in the health and well-being of our children," said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "The pediatric funding provided to the Hospital for Sick Children, Holland Bloorview, CAMH, Toronto East Health Network and Unity Health will have a tremendous impact on children and their families, ensuring they receive faster access to care when they need it."

The $68 million in additional funding will support programs and services at the Hospital for Sick Children ($44.9 million), Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital ($11.9 million), the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health ($6.5 million), Toronto East Health Network ($2.3 million), St. Michael's Hospital ($289,700), Surrey Place ($460,000) Grandview Kids ($78,000) and the Children's Treatment Network of Simcoe-York ($1.4 million). The funding will be used to:

  • Hire more pediatric surgical staff and expand access to operating rooms to increase the number of surgeries performed at the Hospital for Sick Children and partnering community hospitals.
  • Hire additional registered nurses to increase the number of children and youth who can be treated at the Hospital for Sick Children.
  • Add more inpatient rehabilitation beds at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.
  • Hire more staff at Holland Bloorview and the Hospital for Sick Children to connect families to more mental health supports.
  • Increase the number of people who can be seen, triaged and cared for on-site in emergency departments at the Toronto East Health Network and the Hospital for Sick Children by expanding programs that connect people to care in the right place instead of going to emergency departments.
  • Reduce wait times for children and youth with cancer to connect to psychological care at the Hospital for Sick Children.
  • Connect children and youth to more MRI and CT scans at the Hospital for Sick Children.
  • Help more expectant mothers conveniently connect to St. Michael's post-partum midwifery-led clinic which provides specialist care to infants and families.
  • Increase access to children's rehabilitation services, including occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language services, at Surrey Place, Grandview Kids and the Children's Treatment Network of Simcoe-York.

"Ontario is putting children and youth first by ensuring they receive the care they need when they need it," said Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. "Our government's significant investment in pediatric care will reduce waitlists, improve access to clinical assessments, early intervention, and children's rehabilitation services, such as speech-language pathology, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy. This means less time waiting for services, quicker recovery, and better quality of life for children and their families in the GTA and across the province."

This consistent and stable annual funding increase will ensure hospitals in the GTA have the people, resources and technology to improve access to pediatric care and prevent backlogs. Over 100 high-priority initiatives are being quickly implemented across Ontario to ensure children and youth in every corner of the province can connect to emergency care, surgeries, ambulatory services, diagnostic imaging, and mental health services.

Through Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the Ontario government is providing significant financial support to hospitals and communities to improve how they deliver pediatric care - ensuring Ontarians of all ages can access care easier, faster, and closer to home in their communities.

Quick Facts

  • Supporting the mental health and well-being of people in Ontario is a key priority for this government. That is why we are providing a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions (MHA) system that offers high-quality, evidence-based services and supports where and when they need them.
  • In 2020, the government released Roadmap to Wellness, our plan to build a world-class mental health and addictions system.
  • In addition to investing in existing services, Roadmap to Wellness investments are supporting the introduction of new innovative programs to begin to address wait lists and times and ensure access to timely and appropriate services.
  • For example, Ontario recently expanded One Stop Talk, a virtual walk-in mental health counselling service for children, youth and families. Once fully implemented, it will provide immediate, low barrier access to brief counselling services through a single virtual access point from anywhere in the province.
  • 22 SmartStart Hubs operate across the province. SmartStart Hubs provide improved access to front-line rehabilitation services for children and youth, including speech and language pathology services, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

Quotes

"We applaud today's historic investment from the Government of Ontario which will be integral in right-sizing our delivery of care here at SickKids, ensuring we have the infrastructure and the people, and the technology to accelerate timely access to high quality care. We look forward to continuing to work with our government and hospital partners to ensure children and youth in the Toronto region, receive the care they need and deserve, where and when they need it."

- Dr. Ronald Cohn
President and CEO, SickKids Hospital

"We applaud the Ontario government for this once-in-a-generation investment in the physical, developmental and mental health of children, youth and families. This funding has enabled us to hire and train more highly specialized staff on our inpatient units, enabling families to more quickly begin their journey of recovery from surgery and trauma. In our outpatient areas, we are hiring new specialists to reduce wait times and meet the broad range of needs for children and youth with disabilities and developmental differences. We will continue to work together with government and children's health care partners to create positive impact across the continuum of care so that all children and youth can look forward to meaningful and healthy futures."

- Julia Hanigsberg
President and CEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

"More consistent and stable funding for paediatric care in Toronto will help support more infants, children and families access the care they need faster. Thank you to the Ontario government for investing in Unity Health Toronto's post-partum Midwifery led Clinic, which will provide specialized care to infants and families close to home. Our clinic will prioritize health equity and support connecting patients and families with paediatric and community services, improving outcomes and experiences."

- Sonya Canzian
Executive Vice President of Clinical, People, Chief Nursing & Health Professions Officer at Unity Health Toronto

"Children, and their families, need comprehensive and integrated care that they can access close to home to meet their needs. This investment helps to support high-impact initiatives that will enhance the Toronto region's ability to build access and improve capacity for the community."

- Dr. Chris Simpson
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Executive, Ontario Health

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