Acknowledging the extent of the testing and surgical backlog created by the pandemic the province will spend $324 million in new funding to enable Ontario’s hospitals and community health sector to perform more surgeries, MRI and CT scans and procedures. The extra cash is intended to allow facilities to operate on evenings and weekends. As an indication of the extent of the backlog up to 67,000 additional surgeries and procedures as well as up to 135,000 more diagnostic imaging hours will be included in the plan.
76 per cent of patients who were waitlisted for required surgery between March 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021 have received their surgeries. Urgent surgical patients were prioritized and 99.3 per cent of the most urgent patient surgeries were completed. and jurisdictions.
The announcement makes it possible for hospitals to operate at 110 to 115 per cent capacity until the backlog is cleared.
Hospital care: A new investment of $300 million from the 2021 Budget dedicated to help the hospital sector recover and perform thousands more surgeries and diagnostic imaging hours, and help reduce wait times.
The funding will be allocated as follows:
$216 million will allow hospitals to extend operating room hours into evenings and weekends and perform up to 67,000 additional surgeries on top of the typical volume of 650,000 scheduled surgeries that happen in main operating rooms each year
$35 million for MRI and CT imaging, enabling over 75,000 additional hours of MRI scanning and over 60,000 additional hours of CT scanning, on top of the 577,000 hours and 550,000 hours that happen each year, respectively. This represents a 12 per cent overall increase in available hours.
$18 million investment in centralized surgical waitlist management to increase use of electronic referrals and support work to enable efficient tracking of surgical information, making better use of specialist and hospital resources and reducing patient wait times.
$1 million for surgical smoothing coaching from an expert team of experienced surgeons and administrators to support knowledge sharing and best practices to optimize the use of operating rooms at key high-volume hospitals.
$30 million for the new Surgical Innovation Fund to help hospitals in each region of the province to address barriers and increase their surgical output. Approval for funding will be released in September 2021 for immediate implementation this year.
At the height of the third wave in April 2021, the Chief Medical Officer of Health reissued the directive to request all hospitals to temporarily pause non-emergent clinical activity in order to preserve capacity to respond to COVID-19.
The government took action to preserve access to urgent surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as funding supports for weekend and evening surgeries. Over 465,000 scheduled surgeries took place in main operating rooms in Ontario’s hospitals in 2020-2021.