Ontario Reducing Wait Times in Emergency Departments
OTTAWA — The Ontario government is investing an additional $44 million this year in 165 high volume and smaller emergency departments to reduce wait times and provide people with faster and easier access to timely care close to home.
This funding is in addition to the $90 million Ontario invests each year to reward emergency departments that put in place innovative solutions to reduce ED wait times including hiring additional health care staff, accessing more transportation to help transfer medically stable patients out of emergency departments, and creating new beds.
“When someone experiences a medical emergency, it is vital that they get the urgent attention they need quickly,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “By offering more funding for hospitals who show the greatest success in reducing wait times in their emergency departments, we are providing more support for them to deliver faster emergency care to the communities they serve.”
Hospitals have the flexibility to decide how to spend this funding on local solutions that will help people receive care faster and reduce their length of stay in an emergency department. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this annual funding helped emergency departments connect people to care sooner by decreasing the average time spent in emergency departments by 12.2 per cent.
To continue building on this success, Ontario is investing an additional $29 million this year to 75 high volume emergency departments across the province to increase their capacity to help more patients and reduce the amount of time people have to wait to access care. An additional $15 million will also expand the number of smaller hospitals now eligible to receive this funding. This will help support up to 90 hospitals across the province that provide emergency care to fewer than 30,000 patients a year, so they can hire and retain the staff they need to keep their emergency departments open.
With Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the province is continuing to find innovative ways to reduce wait times and make it faster and easier for Ontarians to access timely emergency care, closer to home.
Annual funding is currently offered to 75 large hospitals with emergency departments seeing more than 30,000 patient visits a year.
During the 2022/23 fiscal year, to support Ontario’s pandemic recovery the government allocated $93.4 million using additional one time-funds for initiatives to reduce the time patients spend in emergency departments.