The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario will soon be able to perform 2,200 additional operations each year, thanks to new provincial funding.
On Jan. 8, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that the Liberal government will spend close to $10-million to renovate and expand the day care surgery and post anaesthetic care units at CHEO.
“We do everything we can, stretch as far as we need, make every sacrifice that is necessary to ensure that our children receive the best possible care,” said McGuinty.
The renovations, expected to be completed in 2015, will allow CHEO to reduce patient travel and transportation within the hospital, improve patient safety and infection control, and increase the flexibility of surgical operations.
“The demand for operating services continues to grow,” McGuinty said. “We need to build more capacities when it comes to surgeries in particular. This will help us get going in the right direction.”
Although CHEO has been able to increase the number of surgeries performed annually by 16 per cent since the fall of 2009, the waiting list has also increased during that time.
“This is important because waiting for treatment of any kind is a bigger burden for kids and can, in some cases, have a significant effect in their developments and wellbeing,” said Dr. Carrol Pitters, CHEO’s chief of staff. “With this investment, you are helping CHEO provide our children and youth better access to surgical services.”
Rising patient volumes have been blamed for longer wait times for some procedures.
“The investment will enable us reorganize our day care surgery, recovery units, improve our efficiency, cut wait times and improve our patient experience,” said Pitters.
Monica Coyne, whose eight-old son has had eight surgeries so far at CHEO, hailed the funding as an important step in helping children receive the surgery that they need as soon as they need them so they can get back to being kids sooner.
“While no parents wants their child requiring eight surgeries before the time they are eight, CHEO was there when the need arises,” said Coyne, talking of her family’s experiences at CHEO.
In what was likely one of his last news conferences as the premier of Ontario, McGuinty said he had mixed feelings about leaving his position.
“I’ll never have a job as wonderful as this one – where you have so much opportunity to bring about so much change,” said McGuinty. “It’s been a wonderful privilege and tremendous honour and I will find other ways to make contributions to quality of life of Ontarians and Canadians.”