Province Investing $116.5 Million More to Increase Hospital Capacity, Reduce Wait Times, and Respond to COVID-19
BRAMPTON ― The Ontario government is providing $116.5 million to create up to 766 more beds at 32 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province. This investment will help reduce surgical backlogs and improve access to care during COVID-19. The funding is in addition to the $2.8 billion the province is providing in the government’s COVID-19 fall preparedness plan.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Naveed Mohammad, President and CEO of William Osler Health System.
“Our government made a commitment to end hallway health care, cut hospital wait times, and build a better, more connected health care system that puts patients and their families first,” said Premier Ford. “We are taking another step today to keep that promise by adding hundreds more hospital beds across the province. This will not only ensure we are ready for any surges in COVID-19 cases, but provide patients with the care they need and deserve close to home.”
The new beds announced today are in addition to the $234.5 million investment for 139 critical care beds and up to 1,349 hospital beds included in Ontario’s fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. This brings the total investment to $351 million for more than 2,250 new beds at 57 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province. These beds will add more capacity for hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots such as Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York region. It will also help those facing occupancy pressures and support the continuation of surgeries and procedures.
William Osler Health System will be receiving up to 87 total patient beds to help alleviate hospital capacity pressures and reduce wait times. This includes 41 beds at Osler’s Brampton Civic Hospital and 46 beds at Osler’s Etobicoke General Hospital.
“Our government is making the necessary investments to quickly and effectively increase hospital capacity and reduce wait times for patients and families across Ontario,” said Minister Elliott. “This additional investment will ensure our health care system is able to respond to future waves of COVID-19 and help patients waiting for surgeries and other procedures get the care they need, faster.”
“We greatly appreciate the government’s investment in our hospitals as we work diligently to ensure the patients and communities we serve have access to the care they need,” said Dr. Naveed Mohammad. “As Osler continues to respond to COVID-19 and anticipates higher demands for inpatient care over the coming months, this critical investment in hospital capacity will further strengthen our ability to deliver high-quality, compassionate health care services to our patients.”
Ontario’s fall preparedness plan also focuses on addressing surges in COVID-19 cases and reducing health service backlogs by:
- Extending hours for additional priority surgeries and diagnostic imaging;
- Helping up to 850 alternate level of care patients access proper care in a home or community setting to help free up hospital capacity;
- Expanding digital health and virtual services, which provide alternatives to in-person care that limit the transmission of COVID-19, while maintaining access to care;
- Improving access to mental health and addictions services and supports; and
Increasing home and community care service by adding 484,000 nursing and therapy visits and 1.4 million personal support worker hours.
The province continues 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.
“Today’s announcement is good news for Brampton residents,” said Patrick Brown, Mayor of Brampton. “Our City Council declared a health care emergency and the 87 new patient beds at the William Osler Health System will help alleviate capacity pressures. I want to thank Premier Ford for responding to our concerns with a positive step in the right direction.”
With a recent increase in cases of COVID-19, it remains vital for the government to continue to protect vulnerable populations and for each Ontarian to follow public health advice.
Building on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the province’s $30 billion response to the pandemic, the government remains committed to providing necessary resources to protect people’s health and support people, families, workers and business owners. Ontario will release its 2020 Budget and the next phase of Ontario’s Action Plan on November 5, 2020.
Ontario previously invested $741 million to help clear the backlog of surgeries and build more capacity in the health care system to effectively manage surges and outbreaks in COVID-19 cases.
To further support the health care system as it works to reduce surgical backlogs and improve access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario released A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a comprehensive framework to help hospitals assess their readiness and begin planning for the gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures, while maintaining their ability to respond to COVID-19 and the flu season.
For additional protection, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smartphone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.