The Government of Ontario is investing more than $40.5 million to increase access to pediatric services for children and youth at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
The funding is part of the Ontario government’s investment of an additional $330 million each year in pediatric health services at hospitals and community-based health care facilities across Ontario.
“Our government is making record investments in the health and well-being of our children,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “The pediatric funding provided to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario will have a tremendous impact on children and their families, ensuring they receive faster access to care when they need it.”
CHEO President and CEO Alex Munter said the funding will help expedite services in several areas.
“Thanks to this historic investment, we will be able to provide more care to more kids more quickly – surgeries, diagnostic imaging, urgent care, outpatient appointments and more. For instance, with more kids in crisis coming to the Emergency Department every year, the new Mental Health Transition Unit opening today and the expansion of 1Call1Click will connect more children, youth and families to the help they need,” Munter said.
The $40.5 million in additional funding will support programs and services at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), its Children’s Treatment Centre and the Kid’s Come First Health Team, including:
- Increasing the number of surgeries being performed to reduce surgical wait times and backlogs.
- Connecting children and youth to faster access to MRI and CT scans.
- Reducing wait times for children to connect to care in local emergency departments by increasing access to care in other more appropriate settings, such as rapid access clinics.
- Increasing the number of beds and staff to connect more families to inpatient post-operative rehabilitation care.
- Implementing an immunization catch-up program for children and youth in Eastern Ontario with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Public Health.
- Increasing access to both mental health supports for youth experiencing eating disorders and psychosocial care for children and youth with cancer.
- Increasing access to children’s rehabilitation services, including occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language services.
“Ontario is putting children and youth first by ensuring they receive the care they need when they need it,” said Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “Our government’s significant investment in pediatric care at the CHEO Children’s Treatment Centre and children’s rehabilitation service providers across the Eastern region will reduce waitlists and improve access to clinical assessments, early intervention, and children’s rehabilitation services. This means less time waiting for speech-language pathology, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy services, and quicker recovery and better quality of life for children and their families.”
This consistent and stable annual funding increase will ensure CHEO can serve patients in Eastern Ontario with the people, resources and technology to improve access to pediatric care and prevent backlogs. Over 100 high-priority initiatives are being quickly implemented across Ontario to ensure children and youth in every corner of the province can connect to emergency care, surgeries, ambulatory services, diagnostic imaging, and mental health services.
Local MPPs Lisa MacLeod (Nepean) and Goldie Ghamari (Carleton) were at the announcement.
“Today’s announcement is welcomed news for children and youth living in the Ottawa region, and for the team at CHEO,” said MacLeod. “This new funding will increase the number of inpatient beds and provide faster access to MRI and CT scans, allowing more patients to connect to the high-quality care they need, closer to home.”
Ghamari echoed MacLeod’s statement.
“Our government’s record investments will ensure children and youth in Eastern Ontario can connect to the care they need closer to home, now and in the future,” Ghamari said. “By reducing wait times and increasing capacity for surgeries and mental health supports, patients can continue to receive care faster, where and when they need it most.”
Through Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the Ontario government is providing significant financial support to hospitals and communities to improve how they deliver pediatric care – ensuring Ontarians of all ages can access care easier, faster, and closer to home in their communities.
East Region children’s rehabilitation agencies will receive over $8.4 million this year to support children’s rehabilitation, and preschool speech and language services.
The Ontario government has also said that supporting the mental health and well-being of people in Ontario is a key priority. The province is providing a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions (MHA) system that offers high-quality, evidence-based services and supports where and when they need them.
In 2020, the government released Roadmap to Wellness, our plan to build a world-class mental health and addictions system. In addition to investing in existing services, Roadmap to Wellness investments are supporting the introduction of new innovative programs to begin to address wait lists and times and ensure access to timely and appropriate services. For example, Ontario recently expanded One Stop Talk, a virtual walk-in mental health counselling service for children, youth and families. Once fully implemented, it will provide immediate, low barrier access to brief counselling services through a single virtual access point from anywhere in the province.
The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services funds children’s rehabilitation services for children and youth with special needs, which includes speech and language pathology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy delivered in schools and community locations. The Preschool Speech and Language program provides assessments and services for children with speech and language difficulties and disorders from birth to transition to school.
“Children, and their families, need comprehensive and integrated care that they can access close to home to meet their needs,” said Dr. Chris Simpson, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Executive, Ontario Health. “This investment helps to support high-impact initiatives that will enhance the Ottawa region’s ability to build access and improve capacity for the community.”
Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones announced more than $40 million in funding for CHEO.