McGuinty Government Improving Access To Treatment For Severe Obesity

    Hamilton Health Sciences Named Second Centre Of Excellence For Bariatric

    HAMILTON, ON, Aug. 16 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is bolstering
support for Ontarians who are fighting severe obesity by providing $700,000 to
add more bariatric outpatient services at the Hamilton Health Sciences
bariatric clinic, Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman
announced today.
    "Keeping Ontarians healthy is a priority for our government," said
Smitherman. "By expanding bariatric services in Hamilton, we can now provide a
comprehensive continuum of care for Ontarians who need help managing severe
weight problems."
    The funding announced today will enable the hospital to increase access
to pre and post-surgical care including diagnosis, counseling, weight loss
treatment and referral so patients do not have to seek out-of-province care.
Today's announcement includes:

    -   $510,000 in base funding in 2007/08 to increase the hospital's
        capacity to treat 500 additional patients per year. This is in
        addition to the 200 outpatient cases already seen at Hamilton Health
    -   $180,000 in capital funding to upgrade their facilities to increase
        their capacity for accommodating more patients.

    The growth of this program will improve patient accessibility for
preliminary assessment, and ongoing treatment of the morbidly obese, in an
outpatient clinic setting. It has been designed to provide an integrated range
of services that will work in conjunction with the bariatric surgical Centre
of Excellence located at Humber River Regional Hospital to ensure a
complementary care model that emphasizes both medical and surgical treatments.
The expanded program will also help facilitate bariatric networks of care in
Ontario, while improving wait times and the management of patients previously
eligible for out-of-country treatment.
    "Today's investment in bariatric surgery within our Local Health
Integration Network (LHIN) at Hamilton Health Sciences is a testament to the
expert work of our medical professionals," said Pat Mandy, CEO of the Hamilton
Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN. "Throughout the course of their treatments,
patients from our area will now benefit from care close to home."
    "Today's investment in bariatric treatment at Hamilton Health Sciences is
very exciting news for our patients and staff," said Murray Martin, President
and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences. "This funding will enable us to increase
the number of patients we care for and to renovate and equip our bariatric
clinic so it accommodates them more comfortably and effectively."
    The Hamilton Health Science bariatric program has been in place since
2003 with an experienced team of medical internists, anesthetists, nurses,
dieticians and social workers. The program builds on the commitment by
patients to maintain their reduced weight following surgery.
    "This announcement is welcome news for Hamilton," says Canadian Obesity
Network Scientific Director and McMaster University Professor Dr. Arya M.
Sharma. "Obesity is a complex and widespread disease that requires significant
resources to address effectively, and I congratulate the Ministry on its
decision to expand access to bariatric treatment for the many people in the
region who will benefit from it."
    "This is another positive step for the provision of comprehensive
treatment helping those needing the services of this outstanding Bariatric
Clinic." Said Ted McMeekin, MPP Ancaster Dundas Flamborough Aldershot.
    This is just the latest example of how, working together, Ontarians have
achieved results in reducing obesity. Other initiatives include:

    -   Investing over $3.8 million for 225 additional bariatric surgeries
        and related capital expansions at Humber River Regional Hospital and
        creating Ontario's first bariatric centre of excellence
    -   Launching EatRight Ontario telephone information service that
        provides healthy eating and nutrition advice to Ontarians. The toll-
        free EatRight Ontario telephone service enables individuals to ask
        Registered Dietitians nutrition questions by calling 1-877-510-5102
        or visiting
    -   Launching a $10 million Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL)
        Action Plan designed to encourage all Ontarians especially youth to
        live a healthy, active lives.

    Today's initiative is part of the McGuinty government's plan for
innovation in public health care, building a system that delivers on three
priorities - keeping Ontarians healthy, reducing wait times and providing
better access to doctors and nurses.

    This news release, along with other media materials, such as matte
stories and audio clips, on other subjects, are available on our website at: under the News Media section.
    For more information on achievements in health care, visit:

    Disponible en français.


                        BARIATRIC SERVICES IN ONTARIO

    The McGuinty government is improving access to bariatric treatment for
Ontarians who are fighting severe obesity. The $690,000 investment at the
Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) will allow for improved access to bariatric
treatments for 500 new patients in the area. Severely obese patients will be
provided diagnosis, counseling, weight management, and surgical referral
access service, involving a continuum of pre- and post-operative care.
    Bariatric surgery - such as gastric bypass surgery - involves various
methods of reconfiguring a patient's digestive system that results in a
significant loss of weight. It is considered a medical intervention of last
resort for patients who have unsuccessfully tried to lose weight in other
ways, such as diet, increased physical activity, behaviour modification and
anti-obesity drugs.

    Centre for Excellence at the Hamilton Health Sciences

    The government is creating Ontario's second Bariatric Centre for
Excellence at HHS, General Site. This centre will include pre and post
bariatric surgical care, counseling, referral, and weight loss treatment in a
multi-disciplinary clinic environment.
    The multi-disciplinary health care team will involve physicians, nurses,
dietitians, social workers, kinesiologists and mental health workers. These
teams will help deliver a multiple treatment approach including meal
replacements and relevant weight loss drugs. They provide behavioural and
exercise programs as well to reduce the possible need for surgery.

    Bariatric Services Across Ontario: Surgical and Medical Outpatient

    The first Bariatric Centre for Excellence was established at the Humber
River Regional Hospital. The $3.7 million investment in base funding announced
earlier this year is helping treat up to 225 additional severely obese
patients per year through surgery.
    There are seven hospitals across Ontario currently providing about 400
bariatric surgeries, including Toronto Humber River Regional Hospital, The
Ottawa Hospital, Toronto St. Joseph's Health Centre, The Scarborough Hospital,
Rouge Valley Health System, Lakeridge Health Corporation, and Guelph General
Hospital. These hospitals collectively provide various types of bariatric
surgeries throughout the province.
    However, successful outcomes for bariatric surgery also rely on extensive
pre- and post- surgical medical counseling in clinic outpatient settings. In
some instances, the counseling could last up to five years. The new services
being provided at HHS will ensure that patients receive an integrated
continuum of care.

    Disponible en français.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: David Spencer, Minister's
Office, (416) 327-4320; A.G Klei, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416)
314-6197; Members of the general public: 1-866-532-3161

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