The Ontario government is taking further action to end hallway healthcare and address wait times for diagnostic imaging by investing in the operation of a new MRI machine at Niagara Health.
“As a local MPP, access to quality healthcare has been one of my top priorities,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.
“The investment in operationalizing a new MRI machine for Niagara is a key part of our government’s plan to end hallway healthcare, cut hospital wait times and build a better, more connected health care system that puts patients and their families first.”
“We are grateful to the government for their commitment in ensuring Niagara residents and patients have access to diagnostic imaging.” said Lynn Guerriero, President and CEO of Niagara Health.
“In addition, we are also thankful to our donors who contributed to the purchase and installation of the new MRI machine. Collectively, these investments mean that we will be able to begin to address the backlog of patients waiting for an MRI at Niagara Health.”
Over the last 10 years, the demand for MRI services has increased, on average, by approximately four per cent annually and wait times have worsened with 54 per cent of cases completed within target wait times in 2013/14 to 39 per cent of cases completed within target in 2019/2020.
This new investment brings additional MRI services to Niagara making it easier for patients to receive the care they need closer to home. It is part of the government’s $30 million investment in the 2021 Budget to support MRI services for patients and add new MRI machines to hospitals across the province.
“Our government made a commitment to end hallway health care, and that includes ensuring that patients have access to high-quality MRI services,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
“By providing hospitals with annual investments to support net new MRI machines, our government is helping to ensure that these vital services are available to patients now and in the future.”
As part of a wider, comprehensive surgical recovery plan to provide patients with the care they need, in 2021-22 the Ontario government is investing up to $324 million in new funding to enable Ontario’s hospitals and community health sector to perform more surgeries, MRI and CT scans and procedures, including on evenings and weekends.
The 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, outlined a total of $1.8 billion in additional investments for hospitals in 2021-22. This includes funding to create more than 3,100 additional hospital beds to increase capacity, as well as an increase of $778 million in operating funding to ensure all publicly funded hospitals will receive a minimum one per cent increase to help them keep pace with patient needs and to increase access to high-quality care for patients and families across Ontario.
- The government is investing more than $22 billion in capital grants over the next 10 years for health infrastructure projects across Ontario that will lead to $30 billion in health infrastructure.
- Niagara Health is a large community health system and has the fourth busiest Emergency Department in the province, with almost 200,000 unscheduled visits annually.
- Niagara Health performs the highest number of day surgeries or surgical cases in the region, with nearly 40,000 performed yearly and serves on average 802 inpatients per day.