The Progressive Conservative government announced funding on Thursday to support ambulance transport for Ontario newborns in need of specialized care.
During a stop in London, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced the government has earmarked a total of $6.8 million for five specially equipped ambulances and a team of paramedics in “key regions across the province.”
“Dedicated ambulances will be standardized and pre-equipped with the tools they need in order to care for critically ill newborns and improve response times. Each ambulance will be supported by two paramedics 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” she said.
“This innovative partnership between emergency medical services and hospitals will help reduce the time needed to transport a critically ill newborn between hospitals by an estimated 19 per cent.”
The four children’s hospitals in the province that will support these ambulances will also jointly receive nearly $5.8 million this year.
“(The funding will) support highly specialized hospital teams 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) receiving more than $1 million,” Elliott said.
In a statement, LHSC president and CEO Dr. Paul Woods said the investment will ensure high-quality, timely access to care for the province’s tiniest patients.
The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, McMaster Children’s Hospital and Hospital for Sick Children will also receive funding.
According to the province, of the 140,000 newborns born in Ontario every year, more than 2,000 require transport to a higher level of care, the vast majority of which occurs by land ambulance.