Ontario Delivering Shorter Patient Wait Times
Major $1.3 Billion Investment for Quicker Access to Specialized Care and Services
As part of the 2017 Budget, 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, with more than $285 million of that for 2017-18.
Premier Kathleen Wynne was at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa today to highlight how this investment will allow patients to have tests done more quickly, see a specialist when needed or get surgery faster. This investment will:
- Help more patients by improving access and shortening wait times for MRIs and hip/knee replacements, and increasing stroke and chemotherapy treatments
- Increase capacity for new procedures such as cardiac services, complex spine surgeries, and organ/tissue donations and transplants
- Expand the availability of digital solutions such as eReferral and eConsult, which give family physicians faster, online access to advice from specialists, decreasing the need for referrals and freeing up specialist wait lists.
Patients will also see improved local access to appropriate health care through the use of new inter-professional models of care, including new ways of assessing patients experiencing low back and hip and knee pain. These models ease wait times by making referrals more efficient and supporting self-management plans for patients who don't need to see a specialist.
Reducing patient wait times and improving access to health care services across Ontario are part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- Ontario has invested more than $2 billion since 2003–04 to reduce wait times by funding more than three million additional surgical and diagnostic imaging procedures, such as MRIs and CT scans; cancer, cardiac and cataract surgery; hip and knee replacement; and general and paediatric surgery.
- A Fraser Institute study showed that the median wait time — from family doctor to specialist to treatment — was 15.6 weeks in Ontario in 2016, the lowest of any province.
- A Canadian Institute for Health Information report showed that in 2016 Ontario had the highest percentage of patients achieving wait-time targets in Canada, including 85 per cent for hip replacements and 81 per cent for knee replacements.
- Ontario’s health care budget will total $53.8 billion in 2017–18, which is a 3.8 per cent increase from $51.8 billion in 2016–17.
“It is stressful enough to have a serious health condition, without the added worry of a long wait to have a test done or to see a specialist. We are investing in health care services that reduce this source of stress and ensure that people get better access to treatment when and where they need it.”
“Our government is taking an innovative approach to reducing wait times for key health services Ontarians rely on. Not only are we increasing funding to provide more services such as hip and knee replacements, we are also expanding innovative solutions such as digital technologies and investments that help keep people healthier at home and not in the emergency room.”
Dr. Eric Hoskins