$16 million to improve Ontario emergency rooms access

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Ontario is providing more than $16 million to help patients receive quicker access to care in hospital emergency rooms across the province.

The province will provide funding to 20 municipalities across Ontario for 300,000 dedicated emergency room nursing hours at 49 hospitals this year. Dedicated nurses will work exclusively on receiving low-acuity patients from ambulances, which will allow paramedics to respond to other 9-1-1 calls in the community rather than waiting in the emergency room.  Patients arriving at hospitals by ambulance with life-threatening conditions continue to be given priority by hospital staff.

Municipalities who have received funding for these dedicated emergency room nurses have already reported seeing improvements in delays and emergency room wait times, the government said in a statement.

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John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, said: “I’m pleased that we can continue to invest in this initiative at hospitals across the province. Making these comprehensive investments ensures that the most effective practices are in place so we can continue to put the needs of our patients first. Thanks to the hard work of these dedicated emergency room nurses, we have seen a reduction in ambulance offload delays at hospitals.”

  • The dedicated offload nurses initiative was created in 2008-2009 to reduce ambulance offload times by providing municipalities with funding for dedicated nurses to offload patients in hospital emergency rooms.
  • Ontario’s health care budget has increased from $47.6 billion in 2012-13 to a total of $51.8 billion in 2016-17.
  • This year’s $51.8 billion investment in health care is a 2.1 per cent increase over last year – greater than the rate of inflation. – CINEWS
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