Ontario invests $75M to reduce patient diagnostic, surgical wait times
By Mari-Len De
Aug. 20, 2013 — The Ontario government is investing $75.8 million this year to support
health care providers in continuing to reduce patient wait times across
the province, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care said.
The money will also be used to provide more than 6,800 additional surgical procedures and more than 220,000 hours of MRI and CT scans, the ministry said.
Ensuring people across the province have faster access to surgical and diagnostic procedures is part of Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care "helping deliver the right care at the right time and in the right place," the ministry said.
Already, according to data from the province, wait times for surgeries and diagnostic procedures are getting shorter across Ontario.
"Since 2005, our government has dedicated funding to reduce wait times for surgical and diagnostic imaging procedures. Thanks to these investments and the consistent year-over-year efforts at the local level, we have increased access to timely procedures and will continue to do so to ensure better health outcomes for patients across Ontario," said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
The province has reported "great progress" in reducing wait times for key procedures. In June 2013:
- 94 per cent of cataract surgeries were performed within the 182 day target
- 89 per cent of hip replacements were performed within the 182 day target
- 85 per cent of knee replacements were performed within the 182 day target
- 61 per cent of non-urgent MRIs were performed within the 28 day target
- 87 per cent of CT scans performed were within the 28 day target
- 98 per cent of general surgeries were performed within the 182 day target
- 98 per cent of cancer surgeries were performed within the 84 day target
- 92 per cent of paediatric surgeries were performed within the 182 day target
Since 2005, Ontario has publicly reported on wait times for surgical and diagnostic imaging procedures. The province currently reports on wait times for over 190 different surgical and diagnostic procedures.
Since 2003, Ontario has invested more than $1.7 billion for approximately three million additional procedures to help reduce wait times.
For the sixth consecutive year, Ontario received straight A's from the Canada-wide Wait Time Alliance for meeting performance targets in reducing wait times in five priority health service areas — hip replacements, knee replacements, cataract surgery, radiation oncology and cardiac services. Ontario’s Wait Time website was rated as one of the best in Canada (grade of A) by the Wait Time Alliance, the ministry said.