Ontario Improves Access to Bariatric Surgery

    McGuinty Government Moving Forward on Diabetes Strategy

    TORONTO, Feb. 23 /CNW/ -


    As part of Ontario's diabetes strategy, the province is increasing
bariatric surgery capacity by 500% over the next three years.
    Ontario is investing $75 million to increase bariatric surgery capacity,
also known as gastric bypass surgery, from 244 to 1,470 a year at four centres
of excellence by 2011/2012. Today's announcement will help:

    -  St. Joseph's HealthCare Hamilton provide 450 surgeries a year
    -  Humber River Regional Hospital provide 330 surgeries a year
    -  Guelph General Hospital provide 240 surgeries a year, and
    -  The Ottawa Hospital provide 450 surgeries a year.

    St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences will form
the hub of the centres of excellence.
    This initiative is part of the province's comprehensive diabetes strategy
r_20080722.html) that will invest $741 million over four years to prevent,
manage and treat diabetes. It will also decrease pressure on Ontario's Out of
Country Program, saving approximately $10,000 for every bariatric case done
here and not sent to the United States.


    "High levels of obesity are leading to dramatic rises in serious chronic
illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and some cancers," said
David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "Bariatric surgery will
help offset the costs of treating these obesity-related conditions, while
reducing ER visits and hospitalizations."
    "We're delighted by the government's investment that will make us a part
of the centre of excellence for bariatric surgery in Hamilton," said Dr. Kevin
P.D. Smith, President and CEO of St. Joseph's HealthCare Hamilton. "We look
forward to having our outstanding bariatric program help more Ontarians
receive this highly specialized surgery closer to home."


    -  High levels of obesity are leading to a dramatic rise in illnesses
       such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and some
    -  In 2008/09 Ontario will fund 1660 patients for out-of-country
       bariatric services;
    -  A total of 244 bariatric procedures were performed in Ontario
       hospitals in 2007/08.


    Find out more about the latest development on obesity research at the
Canadian Obesity Network (http://www.obesitynetwork.ca/).

    For public inquiries call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161
    (Toll-free in Ontario only)
    Disponible en français


                        BARIATRIC SERVICES IN ONTARIO

    The Ontario government is improving access to treatment for Ontarians who
are struggling with severe obesity by investing $75 million over the next
three years to increase the province's capacity for bariatric services.

    This investment will:

    -  expand bariatric surgical capacity;
    -  provide bariatric education and training to primary health care
    -  establish pre- and post-bariatric surgery programs that will be linked
       to surgical programs.

    Ontario is establishing four centres of excellence in the province for
bariatric treatment -- Hamilton (St. Joseph's HealthCare and Hamilton Health
Sciences Corporation's General site), Humber River Regional Hospital in
Toronto, Guelph General Hospital and The Ottawa Hospital. A fifth centre of
excellence will be established in the future.
    These centres provide pre- and post-bariatric surgical care, counselling,
referral and weight loss treatment delivered by a multi-disciplinary health
care team consisting of physicians, nurses, dieticians, social workers,
kinesiologists and mental health workers.
    In 2008/09, Ontario funded 283 additional bariatric surgeries.
    By 2011/2012, Ontario will fund a minimum of 1,470 surgeries a year to be
delivered at the following health care centres:

    -  St. Joseph's HealthCare Hamilton - 450 surgeries
    -  Humber River Regional Hospital - 330 surgeries
    -  Guelph General Hospital - 240 surgeries
    -  The Ottawa Hospital - 450 surgeries.

    Discussions to create additional capacity are under way.
    In addition to becoming the hub of the provincial network of centres of
excellence in bariatric surgery, St. Joseph's Healthcare in Hamilton will also
receive $1.5 million to purchase a large bore CT scanner which is specifically
designed to accommodate severely obese patients.
    Bariatric surgery - gastric bypass surgery - involves reconfiguring a
patient's digestive system to achieve 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.
    Bariatric surgery can help resolve several health conditions, such as
diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemias. Dyslipidemias is a condition that
can lead to atherosclerosis, the hardening of the artery walls, which can
restrict blood flow to the heart. Bariatric surgery can also reduce other
obesity-related conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure),
osteoarthritis (a painful joint disease), ischemic heart disease, stroke and
some cancers.

    For public inquiries call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161
    (Toll-free in Ontario only)
                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Steve Erwin, Minister's Office, (416) 326-3986;
Andrew Morrison, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197

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