Funding Allocated For Canadian Paediatric Surgical Wait Times

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The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, today announced further action to reduce wait times, with an investment of up to $9.8 million in a Canada-wide project aimed at ensuring more children requiring surgery will receive timely access to care.

The Canadian Paediatric Surgical Wait Times Project - Stage II, will build on the progress and partnerships established under the National Paediatric Surgical Wait Times pilot project announced by Prime Minister Harper in January 2007 and scheduled for completion later this month.

"The new project will broaden the strategy for managing paediatric wait times across a range of surgical areas, and expand the number of sites participating from the original 16 paediatric hospitals to include up to 16 community hospitals across the country," said Minister Clement. "Ultimately, work on this new Stage II project will go a long way to accelerating access to treatment for more children."

Stage II will enhance and expand the collection, analysis and application of key wait times data, covering ten surgical areas, including cancer, cardiac, dental treatment, neurosurgery, scoliosis, strabismus, urology, gynaecological surgery, plastic surgery and otolaryngology.

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It will implement a guideline, developed during the pilot phase, to ensure children who wait too long for cancer treatment have access to alternative care and will apply this approach to one additional clinical area.

Through these initiatives, the project aims to generate the kinds of knowledge and information that patients, their families, health care providers and governments need to make informed decisions. As a result, it can lead to improved access and reduced paediatric surgical wait times.

The coordination of the project will be led by the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, with the support of the Paediatric Surgical Chiefs of Canada, and in partnership with the 16 Paediatric Academic Health Science Centres who participated in the original pilot

"The project will capitalize on the unprecedented level of cooperation among the paediatric surgical chiefs of Canada," said Dr. Jim Wright, Surgeon in Chief, Department of Surgery, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. "The standardization of data collection methodologies and definitions has helped us to share best practices and identify efficiencies, all aimed at improving access to surgery for children across Canada."

Today's announcement complements the government's investments to advance Patient Wait Times Guarantees and reflects further progress in its ongoing commitment to ensure Canadians have timely access to health care. Strengthening health care is a long-term challenge that requires a combination of leadership, partnership and foresight from all of us - patients, health care providers and governments.

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