Reducing Surgical Wait Times, Moving Families Forward



    Expanding Wait Times Strategy To Include General Surgery Will Cover
    40 per cent Of All Surgeries, Up From 13 per cent

    OTTAWA, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - Only the Ontario Liberals will move public
health care for families forward by expanding our successful wait times
strategy to include general surgery, says Premier Dalton McGuinty.
    "We need to keep moving forward if we are to meet the needs of a growing
and aging population, and speeding up access to general surgeries is the next
important step forward," McGuinty said.
    "Under the Harris Conservatives, confidence in medicare was eroding:
hospitals were being closed, nurses were being fired, and wait times for
important procedures were far too long," he said.
    "Now, we're building and expanding hospitals, hiring nurses, and
delivering faster access to specialized procedures, including cardiac,
cataract and cancer surgery. It's time to build on this strong, new
foundation."
    Areas of the body treated by general surgery include the stomach, liver,
appendix and the skin. The brain, heart, eyes and feet, to name a few, are
areas that require specialized surgical repair.
    In their first term, the Ontario Liberals led the first government in the
province's history to measure and then reduce wait times for five key
specialized surgeries and diagnostic procedures: cataract surgery, hip and
knee replacements, cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, and MRI and CT scans.
    The improvement in wait times, ranging from 20 days sooner for cancer
surgery to 181 days sooner for cataract surgery, is the result of working
together with health care providers to deliver almost 1.3 million additional
procedures.
    The specialized surgeries and procedures included in the wait times
strategy during our first term account for 13 per cent of all surgeries in
Ontario.
    When general surgeries are included in our second term, the strategy will
cover 40 per cent of all surgeries, including hernias, spleens, and
appendectomies.
    The government will set targets for reducing wait times for general
surgeries by working with doctors and other experts.
    "The expansion of the successful wait time strategy to all of general
surgery is exciting news. The lessons learned in driving down wait times in
the first five areas can now be applied to this significant area. Patients and
general surgeons can expect to benefit from reduced wait times and increased
transparency through its inclusion in the Wait Times Information System," said
Dr. Philip Barron, past President of the Ontario Association of General
Surgeons.
    McGuinty made the announcement while visiting the Ottawa Hospital to
underscore the progress made in public health care over the past four years.

    
    The Otttawa Hospital:

    -   Is now delivering cancer surgeries 34 days faster
    -   Is the site of a new Cancer Assessment clinic, designed to ensure all
        cancer patients in the city get the proper care as quickly as
        possible
    -   Now includes a mobile radiation unit, the forerunner of the new
        Ottawa Hospital Regional Cancer Centre, which is currently under
        construction.
    

    Under McGuinty's leadership, there are new capital projects at every
hospital in Ottawa, worth a total of more than half a billion dollars.
    "Only the Ontario Liberals have a positive and specific plan to deliver
better health care for families by reducing wait times," McGuinty said.
    "Now that health care is back on track, we can't go backwards. We need to
keep moving forward."

    Disponible en français

    
                            www.ontarioliberal.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Ontario Liberal Party Media Relations, (416)
961-3800 Ext. 386

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