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‘Not okay with the status quo’: Ontario health ministry offers input following creation of Renfrew county health coalition

Posted: April 30, 2023

(April 29, 2023)

By: Arnprior Chronicle-Guide

Ontario’s Ministry of Health has responded to the Arnprior Chronicle-Guide’s April 27 story ‘New coalition advocating for public hospitals in Renfrew county’ about the creation of the Renfrew County Health Coalition, a chapter of the Ontario Health Coalition. While Metroland had reached out to local MPP John Yakabuski’s office for comment on the story without success, Hannah Jensen, spokesperson for Minister of Health Sylvia Jones, provided comment April 28. “Ontario is proud to have one of the largest publicly funded healthcare systems in the world, a system that we are investing nearly $80 billion in this year. Premier Ford and Minister Jones have been clear. Ontarians will always access our health-care system with their OHIP card, not their credit card,” she wrote in an email. “Our government knows wait times for surgeries and diagnostic tests have been increasing year after year. We are not okay with the status quo and know more work needs to be done.”


The email continues: “That is why, two months ago our government launched Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, which includes our innovative plan to make it faster and easier for Ontarians to access publicly funded surgeries and procedures.” The statement concludes with: “This is in addition to the $880-million investment our government has made in our hospitals through the Surgical Recovery Strategy since the start of the pandemic to clear the surgical backlog. This funding can be used to increase evening and weekend hours in the operating room and remains available to hospitals. Our plan has already reduced the surgical backlog to pre-pandemic levels.


“We are also expanding capacity in every corner of the province, getting shovels in the ground for over 50 new major hospital redevelopment projects over the next 10 years, which will build 3,000 new hospital beds, and we are investing over $182 million this year in the Hospital Infrastructure Renewal Fund (HIRF) and Community Infrastructure Renewal Fund (CIRF) to support critical upgrade and repairs at 131 hospitals and 65 community health-care facilities, including Arnprior Regional Health, Deep River and District Hospital, Pembroke Regional Hospital Inc., Renfrew Victoria Hospital and St. Francis Memorial Hospital.


“Our government will continue to take an all-hands-on deck approach to connect Ontarians across the province to more publicly funded services, closer to home.” Jensen also noted the ministry has had 41 deputations in person or by Zoom and over 400 written submissions on Bill 60, the bill that will allow more private clinics to open and conduct OHIP-covered surgeries and diagnostic services.


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