Ontario Hospitals Facing Difficult Decisions

Health System Capacity Planning Will Help Manage Risk in Time Ahead

TORONTO, April 23, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario hospitals are facing increasingly difficult decisions in 2015/16 and 2016/17 as they continue to absorb financial and service pressures after three years without a base funding increase, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA)said in response to today's provincial Budget.

Ontario's hospitals routinely operate at 90 per cent capacity or higher and already have the fewest beds per thousand among all of Canada's provinces.  The efficiency dividend created from these efforts allows, in part, needed investments in other equally important parts of the health care system.  Within this environment and, working with partners across the health system, wait times are down and more people are getting faster access to the care they need in critical areas, including cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, cataract surgery, and hip and knee replacements. 

"Hospitals will continue to innovate and transform and make every effort to ensure that the people of Ontario have access high quality hospital-based care," said Anthony Dale, OHA President and CEO. "At the same time, as pressures increase, key system indicators such as emergency room wait times, ALC levels and others metrics need to be monitored carefully as they are potential warning signs for broader systemic challenges.

For several years, the OHA, working on behalf of the province's 149 public hospitals, has advocated for the creation of a comprehensive health system capacity plan. Ontario's hospitals work closely with system partners, including the home and community care sector as well as the long-term care sector, and a concrete, long term plan is needed to effectively address the changing needs of patients and clients in the province.

"A provincial capacity plan will help decision makers to make the right short-term and long-term strategic investments for health care," said Dale. "Identifying the right mix of services required to ensure that all Ontarians can get the right kind of care where and when they need it into the future is essential."

The health care system is at a pivotal juncture.  As the province continues to work towards its goal of eliminating the provincial deficit, hospitals will continue to work closely with the Government of Ontario, LHINs and their partners in order to assess risk and maintain access to services. 

SOURCE Ontario Hospital Association

For further information: Media contact: Akilah Dressekie, OHA Public Affairs, 416-205-1376, adressekie@oha.com

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