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Investments to Reduce Wait Times

Archived Backgrounder

Investments to Reduce Wait Times

Ministry of Health

Ontario is improving access to high-quality health care services for people across the province by investing $1.3 billion over three years to reduce wait times across the continuum of care. Funding includes:

  • $529.7 million provided to the hospital sector for priority services such as quality-based procedures and wait-times services
  • $357.6 million for priority services in hospitals
  • $107.7 million to support evidence-based models of care for highly prevalent conditions starting with musculoskeletal conditions
  • $85 million to support investments in community care
  • $74.1 million for mental health and addictions services
  • $71.2 million to support the adoption of the latest digital technologies
  • $66.2 million for telemedicine.

In the coming year, this means better access to high‐priority procedures where access is challenging or demand is increasing. Examples include:

  • More than 28,000 new MRI hours targeting high-risk patients, including those with cancer
  • An additional 2,800 hip and knee procedures 
  • More than 2,100 new cataract procedures 
  • Supporting endovascular treatment for stroke care, a new evidence-based practice
  • An additional 149 adult foot and ankle surgeries and an additional 435 eye misalignment surgeries, which can prevent children from losing their vision
  • Increasing the number of critical services in hospitals to address wait times for treatment, including new cardiovascular procedures, expanded care for people with rare diseases, and organ transplants
  • Increasing the availability of insured optometry services.

Ontario is also expanding access to innovative solutions that reduce wait times for specialists, including:

  • Implementing new innovations to ensure patients are receiving care in the most appropriate setting, including at home and in the community, which could free up hospital beds for people who need them
  • Expanding eConsult across the province, which is a service that connects patients to specialists online, so that they can get the care they need sooner. This online service provides responses to patients within three business days on average, and reduces unnecessary referrals for in-person appointments with a specialist by 40 per cent.
  • Expanding eReferral in up to five LHINs, which is an online referral system to connect patients with specialists more quickly, or get patients faster referrals to other services in the community
  • Expanding streamlined access to specialists across the province for patients being assessed for hip or knee replacement, through central intake and assessment centres, where patients who need surgical consultation are referred to the next available surgeon or a surgeon based on their choice
  • Expanding programs such as the Inter-Professional Spine Assessment and Education Clinics, which assess patients with low back pain, reducing unnecessary referrals and diagnostic tests, and providing them with the care and information they need to manage their pain effectively. 
Ontario is also improving access to home and community care services to help people return home from hospital sooner and make fewer hospital visits, including funding for an additional:
  • 1.5 million hours of personal support services
  • 390,000 hours of nursing care
  • 110,000 hours of rehabilitation therapy
  • 600,000 hours of caregiver respite services.

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