Ontario is investing $187 million in 2018-2019 to improve access to hospital beds and reduce wait times in hospitals across the province. Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, made the announcement - noting that they will also be investing in more home and community care services as well as more long-term care beds across the province.

“Last fall, we provided hospitals with much needed funding to help manage the increased demand for health care services,” said Hoskins. “We recognize hospitals across the province need this ongoing support, which is why Ontario is committing $187 million to ensure patients and families can access health care services when and where they need it.”

David Jensen at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care says that the funding for 2018-2019 is still being allocated, and at this point is unsure if hospitals in Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout or Red Lake would receive a portion of the additional funding.

However, he says that the ministry will be working collaboratively with Local Health Integration Networks, hospitals and the Ontario Hospital Association to complete an evaluation of the impact of the 2017-2018 investment of $100 million to open more than 1,200 beds across Ontario. He also says that they will be working to determine new allocation opportunities for 2018-2019.

Jensen recently said that the ministry hopes to have a plan for the Sioux Lookout area by the end of March. The Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre submitted their proposal three years ago, in 2014, but the province says no new licences are available. As a result, Kenora - Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell says residents of isolated communities in the Far North are being sent to Thunder Bay and Fort Frances.

The issue becomes more important in the district, as hospital beds are full or near-full in Dryden, Kenora and Sioux Lookout. Queen's Park is looking to add 5,000 beds within five years, and another 30,000 beds within 10 years.

For more information:
Province addresses long-term care 

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