Surgical innovation projects in Kingston and Napanee to receive provincial funding

Hotel Dieu Hospital, a KHSC site. Photo by Josie Vallier.

As part of its plan to stay open, the Ontario Government is investing $1,294,458 to support three surgical innovation fund projects in Kingston and Napanee hospitals.

According to a release from Hastings-Lennox and Addington MPP Daryl Kramp’s office, this funding is part of the government’s expanded $86.2 million Surgical Innovation Fund that will support 187 projects that will provide hospitals across the province with the flexibility they need to perform more surgeries and procedures as they continue to ramp up non-urgent and non-emergent surgeries.

Locally, this funding will support the following projects:

  • Ophthalmology Partnership for $328,300, and Perioperative Services for $718,658 at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC)
  • Expansion of CT Scan hours for $247,500 at Lennox & Addington County General Hospital in Napanee

“We are fortunate to have some of the finest hospitals and hospital staffs in Ontario in our region, and this funding recognizes their need to expand their hours at this time,” said MPP Kramp. “I commend Minister of Health Christine Elliott and the Premier for making these investments which will directly affect care for so many here. And once again thank the hospitals for their professional leadership and dedicated, specialized staffs.”

In June 2021 as part of Ontario’s comprehensive surgical recovery plan, the government announced a new $30 million Surgical Innovation Fund to help hospitals and health system partners address barriers to surgeries and procedures that cannot be addressed by other funding streams, according to the release. To further support surgical recovery as hospitals continue to ramp up surgeries and procedures, the government said they have expanded the fund by an additional $56.2 million, for a total of $86.2 million. This investment will reportedly enable more hospitals to move ahead with their innovative projects, while building a health care system that delivers the high-quality care patients need and deserve.

According to the release, over 200 proposals were submitted for review by hospitals across the province, and 187 projects were approved. These projects focus on training nurses and allied health staff, purchasing and upgrading diagnostic imaging technology and operating room equipment, and completing small capital projects. Projects include:

  • 27 new nurse training programs resulting in up to 600 operating rooms and post anesthesia care unit nurses trained;
  • 64 new diagnostic imaging professionals trained;
  • 84 operating and procedure rooms upgraded with new equipment, including equipment for ophthalmology, orthopedic, plastic, cystoscopy, gynecology, endoscopy, bariatric, hernia, neurological and pediatric surgeries;
  • 40 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) software upgrades, 20 new ultrasound machines, 10 new C-Arm x-ray intensifiers, seven new surgical microscopes; and,
  • Eight spaces renovated overall to increase throughput and efficiency, including operating rooms and related support spaces.

“Ontario’s hospitals have been unwavering in their dedication to protect the health and safety of Ontarians and we cannot thank them enough for their incredible efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “As we continue to build a stronger, more resilient health care system, these innovative projects will help hospitals ramp up surgical capacity and ensure that Ontarians have access to high-quality care.”

Thanks to targeted government initiatives, over 465,000 scheduled surgeries took place in main operating rooms in Ontario’s hospitals in 2020-2021, according to the release, which is approximately 70 per cent of surgeries competed pre-pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, the government said they took action to preserve access to urgent surgeries, and as a result, 99.3 per cent of the most urgent patient surgeries were completed and 76 per cent of patients who were waiting for required surgery between March 1, 2020, and March 1, 2021 have received the care they need.

In addition, with the government’s support, hospitals were also able to perform MRI and CT scans consistently at over 100 per cent of their pre-pandemic output in 2021-22 and reduced wait times to lower than pre-pandemic levels by December 2021, according to the release.

Building on these accomplishments, the province said that the Surgical Innovation Fund projects will add future capacity to provide an estimated 49,600 additional surgeries and procedures, and up to 106,375 additional MRI and CT scans across Ontario. As part of the province’s broader surgical recovery plan, the Ontario government is investing up to $324 million to enable the health care system to provide thousands of additional surgeries and procedures as well as up to 270,000 more diagnostic imaging hours.

The government said it will continue to work with Ontario Health and its health system partners to closely monitor both surgical output in hospitals and patient wait times to ensure patients and their families have access to the high-quality care they need.

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