Funding Will Improve Access to Care for People throughout the Ottawa Area and across Ontario
OTTAWA ― The Ontario government is investing nearly $45 million to create up to 254 more beds in hospitals and alternative health facilities in Ottawa, including nearly $18 million to address ambulance offload times in Ottawa and the hiring of more frontline staff.
This is part of the government’s $15.2 billion investment in health care announced yesterday in the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover.The first pillar of the Action Plan ― Protect ― outlines how the province is protecting people during the COVID-19 pandemic by improving access to care and reducing surgical backlogs.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Cultural Industries.
“The next phase of Ontario’s Action Plan puts significant funding on the table to support our frontline health care heroes and to make sure our hospitals have the necessary surge capacity they need to care for COVID-19 patients, while clearing the surgeries backlog,” said Premier Ford. “But we have to keep protecting that capacity, and the best way for all of us to do that is to keep following public health measures. Everyone must remain vigilant because we are all in this together.”
Ontario’s 2020 Budget outlines the government’s significant investments to prepare for future waves of COVID-19, with a focus on health care and long-term care. This includes the total investment of $351 million for more than 2,250 new beds at 57 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province set out in the $2.8 billion Fall Preparedness Plan for Health, Long-Term Care and Education.
“Protecting people has been our government’s number one priority since the first day of the pandemic,” said Minister Phillips. “The investments made through our 2020 Budget will help ensure hospitals in Ottawa and around the province have the necessary resources to keep providing care for those who need it, when they need it. As long as COVID-19 continues to threaten our health, we will continue to be there to protect the people of Ontario.”
In Ottawa, Ontario’s investment for up to 254 total patient beds will help alleviate hospital capacity pressures and reduce wait times. This includes:
- 120 beds at the Greystone Village Retirement Home, operated by Bruyere Continuing Care;
- 56 beds to be operated by the Queensway Carleton Hospital;
- 39 beds and 20 ambulatory offload spaces at the Ottawa Hospital;
- 10 beds at Montfort Hospital; and
- 9 beds at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).
“Our government is making the necessary investments to quickly and effectively increase hospital capacity and reduce wait times for patients and families in Ottawa,” said Minister Elliott. “We are ensuring our health system is able to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks and help patients waiting for surgeries and other procedures get the care they need, faster and closer to home.”
This announcement includes a $16 million investment in a new Emergency Department Ambulance Offload and Medicine Transition Unit facility at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus. This new facility will be built beside the existing emergency department and include a new ambulance offload area with 20 bays to enable paramedics to transfer patients to hospital care safely. It will also include 20 medicine transition beds for admitted patients to move from the emergency department to an inpatient unit. Patients and families from Ottawa and surrounding municipalities as far away as Brockville, Kemptville and Cornwall will benefit from this project.
To further support faster access to care for patients, Ontario is providing $1.5 million to four Ottawa area hospitals to hire frontline staff. This funding will allow paramedics to transfer the care of their patients to hospital staff and allow the ambulance to respond to the next 911 call more quickly. Dedicated offload nurses help reduce ambulance offload delays, improve patient flow in busy hospital emergency departments and ensure patients are receiving timely access to acute care services.
This funding is part of a separate $16.1 million investment the government is making in 2020-21 to hire dedicated nurses to receive ambulance patients and return paramedics to the community faster. Last year, the investment increased ambulance availability by approximately 500,000 hours.
The province will continue to work with its health sector partners and Ontario Health to develop an integrated health system capacity plan in response to COVID-19. This plan will help ensure hospitals can continue to provide care for COVID-19 patients and treat patients who have been waiting for surgeries and tests. The province will continue to monitor and assess the health system’s needs and address any challenges hospitals may face.
With a recent increase in cases of COVID-19, it remains vital for the government to continue to protect vulnerable populations and for people in Ontario to follow public health advice.