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Improving Access to Health Services in Thunder Bay

News Release

Improving Access to Health Services in Thunder Bay

Ontario Helping More Patients in Northwestern Ontario Receive the Right Care at the Right Time and at the Right Place

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is improving access to local doctors, nurses and other health care providers to help patients in Thunder Bay get the care they need, when and where they need it. 

The province is investing almost $14 million to improve access to emergency care and enhance community health care services. This additional funding will support Thunder Bay's three largest health care providers: Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph's Care Group and the North West Community Care Access Centre.   

New initiatives to enhance care in the community include:

  • Helping to recruit up to 10 full-time and 14 temporary emergency room doctors to improve access to urgent care.
  • Staffing 10 acute care hospital beds to treat up to 600 more patients every year.
  • Expanding a nurse outreach program to provide up to 500 more seniors and people with complex care needs with home care.
  • Creating 26 new hospital beds to help more people with long-term illnesses or disabilities receive specialized care.
  • Funding up to 17 more spaces in supportive housing to help seniors and people in need of care remain independent.

Improving access to emergency and community-based health care is part of Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care that is providing the right care, at the right time, in the right place. It is also part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow by focusing on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.

Quick Facts

  • Thunder Bay is an important hub for critical health care services for patients living throughout northwestern Ontario — including many from remote towns and First Nations communities hundreds of kilometres away.
  • Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s emergency department is one of the busiest in the province with over 105,000 annual visits by OHIP patients in 2013.
  • Last year, the North West Community Care Access Centre helped over 13,400 people get the care they need at home, at school and in the community.
  • St. Joseph's Care Group is a Catholic organization that identifies and responds to the unmet needs of the people of northwestern Ontario. With eight sites in Thunder Bay, SJCG's regional program areas include Complex Care and Physical Rehabilitation, Long-Term Care and Mental Health and Addiction services.

Background Information

Additional Resources


Deb Matthews

“Our government is committed to making sure patients get access to the health services they need, when they need them. This much-needed funding will help relieve pressers at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, make sure patients have care when and where they need it, and ensure more people in Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario have access to home, community and specialized care.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

Michael Gravelle

“This is very important news for families in Thunder Bay and across northwestern Ontario. More beds, more home and community care hours, and more supportive housing units mean patients will have more timely access to the most appropriate care, and ultimately, better health outcomes. Increased capacity will also address pressures at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences and I am tremendously pleased our government has taken clear action that focuses on the needs of Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario.”

Michael Gravelle

MPP for Thunder-Bay—Superior North

Bill Mauro

“This investment is very important for the people of Thunder Bay. It will provide more access for more patients, seniors and those with complex care needs, and will help to alleviate the pressure on our acute care beds and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. I want to personally thank Minister Matthews for listening and acting on behalf of the residents of northwestern Ontario.”

Bill Mauro

MPP, Thunder Bay-Atikokan

“Reducing pressures in Thunder Bay’s hospitals means that our dedicated doctors, nurses and other health professionals can better deliver the highest quality of care to residents. This investment is an important step in addressing the unique demands of delivering health services in northern Ontario.”

Andrée Robichaud

President and CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of months of planning with our health partners in the North West LHIN, Working together with Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph’s Care Group, the North West CCAC, the City of Thunder Bay and other service providers we have developed an exciting plan to ensure residents from all over northwestern Ontario have better access to the health care they need and deserve.”

Joy Warkentin

Chair, Board of Directors, North West Local Health Integration Network

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