Ontario Investing in Surgical Innovation Projects in Niagara West

Grimsby – As part of its plan to stay open, the Ontario government is investing $998,473.00 to support two surgical innovation fund projects in Niagara West. This funding is part of the government’s expanded $86.2 million Surgical Innovation Fund that will support 187 projects that will provide hospitals across the province with the flexibility they need to perform more surgeries and procedures as they continue to ramp up non-urgent and non-emergent surgeries.

Locally this funding will support the following projects:

  • $477,873.00 to Hamilton Health Sciences for the Operating Room at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital for non-instrumented spine surgeries.
  • $520,600.00 to Niagara Health to move minor gynecology procedures out of the Operating Room to increase operating room capacity.

“As a local MPP, access to high-quality health care has been one of my top priorities,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

“This investment in surgical innovation for Niagara Health and West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby 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.”

“The pandemic has left a long list of patients waiting for critical, quality-of-life enhancing surgeries and procedures in our community and across Ontario,” said Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences.

“Hamilton Health Sciences’ expert clinical teams are facing this challenge while coping with extreme staff and physician shortages. We welcome this news and investment from the Government of Ontario to bolster the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital operating rooms with much-needed resources to further serve patients.”

In June 2021 as part of Ontario’s comprehensive surgical recovery plan, the government announced a new $30 million Surgical Innovation Fund to help hospitals and health system partners address barriers to surgeries and procedures that cannot be addressed by other funding streams. To further support surgical recovery as hospitals continue to ramp up surgeries and procedures, the government has expanded the fund by an additional $56.2 million, for a total of $86.2 million. This investment will enable more hospitals to move ahead with their innovative projects, while building a health care system that delivers the high-quality care patients need and deserve.

Over 200 proposals were submitted for review by hospitals across the province, and 187 projects were approved. These projects focus on training of nurses and allied health staff, purchasing and upgrading diagnostic imaging technology and operating room equipment, and completing small capital projects.

“Ontario’s hospitals have been unwavering in their dedication to protect the health and safety of Ontarians and we cannot thank them enough for their incredible efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hon. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“As we continue to build a stronger, more resilient health care system, these innovative projects will help hospitals ramp up surgical capacity and ensure that Ontarians have access to high-quality care.”

Thanks to targeted government initiatives, over 465,000 scheduled surgeries took place in main operating rooms in Ontario’s hospitals in 2020-2021, which is approximately 70 per cent of surgeries competed pre-pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, the government took action to preserve access to urgent surgeries, and as a result, 99.3 per cent of the most urgent patient surgeries were completed and 76 per cent of patients who were waiting for required surgery between March 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021 have received the care they need.

In addition, with the government’s support, hospitals were also able to perform MRI and CT scans consistently at over 100% of their pre-pandemic output in 2021-22 and reduced wait times to lower than pre-pandemic levels by December 2021.

Building on these accomplishments, the Surgical Innovation Fund projects will add future capacity to provide an estimated 49,600 additional surgeries and procedures, and up to 106,375 additional MRI and CT scans across Ontario. As part of the province’s broader surgical recovery plan, the Ontario government is investing up to $324 million to enable the health care system to provide thousands of additional surgeries and procedures as well as up to 270,000 more diagnostic imaging hours.

The government will continue to work with Ontario Health and its health system partners to closely monitor both surgical output in hospitals and patient wait times to ensure patients and their families have access to the high-quality care they need.