Ontario earmarks $324M for surgical recovery, ramp-up of hospital capacity
Ontario says it will spend up to $324 million to tackle a waitlist for surgeries that's expected to grow as the province recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government says it's aiming to allow the hospital system to operate at 115 per cent capacity by the fall with a focus on high-volume, non-urgent scheduled surgeries.
About $216 million of the money will go toward extending operating room hours, focusing on the hardest-hit areas.
Funds are also being allocated to increase hours for diagnostic services, a centralized system for managing wait times and plans specific to local hospitals.
Non-COVID care was reduced during the pandemic and the province's top doctor twice ordered a pause on non-urgent procedures to protect hospital capacity.
Officials say they expect more unscreened, undiagnosed patients to join the wait list for surgeries as the pandemic wanes, contributing to an expected rise in demand for procedures.