Reducing Emergency Room Wait Times, Together
Premier McGuinty Selects Alan Hudson To Expand Successful Wait-Times Strategy To Hospital Emergency Rooms
After four years of progress in bringing down wait times for key medical procedures such as cardiac care, the McGuinty government will work with health care professionals to reduce wait times in Ontario's emergency rooms, Premier Dalton McGuinty said today.
"The emergency room is where anxious families come when there's a sudden injury or troubling symptoms, so it's important that we are able to offer not only hope, but speedy care as well," said the Premier at North York General Hospital.
"We're going to build on the success we've had bringing wait times down elsewhere in our hospitals to significantly speed up emergency care."
Dr. Alan Hudson -- who led the government's efforts to reduce wait times for key procedures -- will lead this expansion of the wait times strategy. Dr. Hudson is a neurosurgeon by training. He served as president and chief executive officer of both Cancer Care Ontario and the University Health Network.
"I'd like to thank the Premier for this opportunity to expand our wait times strategy," Dr. Hudson said. "Since 2004, we've learned a lot about how to reduce wait times in many areas. Based on the success we've had thus far, I'm confident that we can reduce emergency room wait times through this mandate."
"We have made great progress in reducing wait times in Ontario and Alan Hudson's leadership has been critical to our success," said George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "By measuring, reporting and reducing wait times in the emergency room, we are seeking to ensure that this vital point of contact with the health care system brings with it the greatest degree of confidence and peace-of-mind for Ontario patients."
Dr. Hudson's work will focus on relieving pressures in Ontario's emergency rooms through investments in such areas as illness prevention and expanding access to care in the community.
The government will create an Emergency Department Information System to help measure wait times in emergency rooms. Together with other expert advice, this information will help establish targets for timely patient care.
Today's announcement is part of the McGuinty government's plan to build on the progress Ontarians have made strengthening our health care system over the last four years.
Compared to four years ago, Ontarians are getting cataract surgery 181 days faster, hip replacements 133 days faster, knee replacements 143 days faster and cancer surgery 20 days faster.
"There will be cynics who will say we can't do this, that emergency room wait times are just too tough a challenge to take on, but those same people said we couldn't reduce wait times four years ago -- and we have," said the Premier.
"Now it's time to work together to bring down wait times in our emergency rooms, so that patients can get the reassurance they seek and the care they need as quickly as possible."