Ontario Liberal Plan Delivers Best Newborn Screening In Canada

Ontario Babies Getting The Best Start With State-Of-The-Art Program At CHEO

OTTAWA, Sept. 19, 2011 /CNW/ - Ontario babies are getting the best start in life with the most comprehensive newborn screening in Canada — thanks to the Ontario Liberal Plan.

"The moment your child is born you know that you will do anything to protect them — and more than anything you want to know they are healthy. That's why we've expanded newborn screening from just two disorders to 28," said Premier Dalton McGuinty.  "We're giving newborns the best start, and giving their parents peace of mind".

The Premier made his remarks at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). The world-class children's hospital delivers the newborn screening program that Ontario Liberals expanded to cover more diseases and disorders than anywhere else in Canada. Every Ontario newborn is tested up to a week after birth and all samples are then sent to CHEO for screening.

Ontario Liberals expanded the free program to cover 28 rare disorders, including sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis — after more than 25 years of screening newborns for only two disorders.

"We took action on newborn screening to give parents the support they need to ensure their kids stay healthy," McGuinty said. "Because catching these disorders early gives our kids the very best chance at fighting them."

"The expansion of newborn screening has made Ontario a national leader in the protection of infant health," said Dr. Pranesh Chakraborty, Laboratory Screening Director - Ontario Newborn Screening. "When these diseases are detected early on it means a child's treatment can begin immediately — so that all children in Ontario have the very best chance to grow up healthy."

The Harris-Hudak PCs closed 28 hospitals and planned to close the paediatric cardiac surgery unit at CHEO — which Ontario Liberals fought to keep open. Now the Hudak PCs have a $14 billion hole in their platform that would mean deep cuts to health care.

The last NDP government cut medical school spaces and helped create a provincewide doctor shortage. Now the Horwath NDP platform doesn't address the big challenges we're facing in health care.

Both the PCs and NDP came up short by failing to expand newborn screening. Both would take Ontario off track at the worst time. Only the Ontario Liberals have a plan to improve health care at every stage of life, from prevention to research to treatment.

"Our plan is working, we're delivering the very best health care for our children and grandchildren by working with partners like CHEO," McGuinty said. "We'll continue to move forward, together."

SOURCE Ontario Liberal Party

For further information:

Ontario Liberal Party Media Office:
416 961-3800 ext. 328

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