ALEEM SUFI,
Office of MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy

DURHAM: The Ontario government is providing $116.5 million to create up to 766 more beds at 32 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province. This investment will help reduce surgical backlogs and improve access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic.


In the Durham Region, Lakeridge Health will be receiving up to $10,346,000 for up to 64 hospital beds and 8 additional critical care beds at the Ajax-Pickering Hospital, to help alleviate hospital capacity pressures and reduce wait times.


“64 new acute care beds and 8 new critical care beds will help Lakeridge Health be better prepared for any further surge in COVID-19 cases in Durham Region,” said Lindsey Park, Member of Provincial Parliament Durham. “We continue to work closely with our health care partners in Durham to fight the pandemic and provide high-quality health care to Durham residents in their time of need.”


“Throughout these unprecedented times, our health care workers have shown us the depth of their compassion, and their commitment to protecting and keeping us safe. I want to extend my deepest appreciation to all the staff, physicians, nurses and volunteers here at Lakeridge Health for your tireless efforts to deliver exceptional care to patients,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering Uxbridge. “These beds will help ensure the Durham Region has the resources needed to continue to respond to COVID-19.”


The new beds, announced today, are in addition to the $234.5 million investment for 139 critical care beds and up to 1,349 hospital beds, included in Ontario’s fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. This brings the total investment to $351 million, for more than 2,250 new beds, at 57 hospitals and alternate health facilities across the province; beds that will add more capacity for hospitals, help with occupancy pressures, and support the continuation of surgeries and procedures.


“My colleagues and I recognize the Health needs of the Durham community and the pressures our health system is under, especially with the onset of COVID,” said Rod Phillips, Ajax MPP. “The investment of $10,366,000 to Lakeridge Health for 64 hospital beds and 8 additional critical care beds, is just another example of how our government is doing whatever it takes to protect Ontarians.”


“The new beds coming to the Region of Durham addresses the long-term care needs of hard-working families, and further strengthens Lakeridge Health’s ability to deliver high-quality care services to Durham residents, they need and deserve.” said Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby and Chief Government Whip.


“Our government is making the necessary investments to quickly and effectively increase hospital capacity and reduce wait times, for patients and families in the Durham Region,” said Minister Elliott. “This additional investment will ensure our health care system is able to respond to future waves of COVID-19 and help patients waiting for surgeries and other procedures get the care they need, faster.”


The government is providing $2.8 billion for the COVID-19 fall preparedness plan. It focuses on addressing surges in COVID-19 cases and reducing health service backlogs by: Extending hours for additional priority surgeries and diagnostic imaging; Helping up to 850 alternate level of care patients access proper care in a home or community setting to help free up hospital capacity; Expanding digital health and virtual services, which provide alternatives to in-person care that limit the transmission of COVID-19, while maintaining access to care; Improving access to mental health and addictions services and supports; and Increasing home and community care service by adding 484,000 nursing and therapy visits and 1.4 million personal support worker hours.


The province continues to work with its health sector partners and Ontario Health, to develop an integrated health system capacity plan in response to COVID-19. This plan will help ensure hospitals can continue to provide care for COVID-19 patients and treat patients who have been waiting for surgeries and tests. The province will continue to monitor and assess the health system’s needs and address any challenges hospitals may face.


“We are grateful to our provincial partner’s support and commitment to ensuring residents of Durham Region continue to have access to vital health care services, particularly during this unprecedented time,” said Susan deRyk, Interim President & CEO, Lakeridge Health. “Today’s announcement enables our regional health care system to quickly respond to the health care needs of our communities, as the situation rapidly shifts and changes.”


Building on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the province’s $30 billion response to the pandemic, the government remains committed to providing necessary resources to protect people’s health and support people, families, workers and business owners. Ontario will release its 2020 Budget and the next phase of Ontario’s Action Plan on November 5th, 2020.


With a recent increase in cases of COVID-19, it remains vital for the government to continue to protect vulnerable populations and for each Ontarian to follow public health advice.