MPP Mike Harris Media Statement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 16, 2023
WATERLOO REGION – I am extremely pleased that today, Ontario is taking steps to make it easier for people to get the surgeries they need sooner and closer to home. Our government is taking bold action to eliminate surgical backlogs and reduce wait times for publicly-funded surgeries and procedures. I am happy to note that Waterloo Region will play an integral role in supporting our local residents.
Ontario has outlined a three-step plan that better integrates and uses community surgical and diagnostic centers and their state-of-the-art facilities to speed up how quickly people are able to get surgeries and procedures using their health card, and never their credit card.
The plan will add 14,000 more OHIP-insured cataract surgeries each year, expand community-based clinics to perform more surgeries such as cataracts and MRI and CT imaging and introduce legislation to expand surgeries for hip and knee replacements in community-based clinics by 2024.
This number represents up to 25% of the province’s current cataract waitlist, and accounts for the estimated COVID-related backlog of cataract surgeries.
The Ministry of Health is investing up to $8.5 million annually to support the delivery of cataract surgeries for patients in 4 community surgical and diagnostic centres in Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa.
The four facilities are:
• Everest Surgicentre (Ottawa);
• Herzig Eye Institute Ottawa;
• TLC Laser Eye Centres (Waterloo); and
• The Windsor Surgical Center
By boosting the availability of publicly funded health services in Ontario, our government is ensuring Ontarians currently waiting for specialized surgeries will have greater access to the world-class care they need, where they need it.
Timely access to surgery and diagnostic imaging is critical to increasing early detection for diagnoses and improving people’s prognosis and quality of life, in addition to reducing pressure on the healthcare system in the long term.
Today’s announcement is a huge step in the right direction and will have an immediate and positive impact on the families and individuals of Kitchener-Conestoga, Waterloo Region and beyond.