Ontario investing $5.2 million to expand cardiovascular surgery services to Northwestern Ontario

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is providing over $5.2 million for the planning and design of a cardiovascular surgery program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre,  to address surgical wait times and improve access to lifesaving care in Northern Ontario.

 “This incredible program will ensure the people of northwestern Ontario can get the critical heart care they need faster and closer to home,” said Premier Doug Ford.

In 2020/21, 206 patients traveled outside of Northwestern Ontario for cardiovascular surgeries and post-operative care, often over 10 hours to Toronto. 

“Investing in key health services and expanding hospital capacity is essential to supporting Ontario’s surgical recovery and building a connected health care system for all Ontarians, no matter where they live,” said Christine Elliott, minister of health. “After years of waiting, patients in Northwestern Ontario can finally receive lifesaving cardiovascular treatment closer to home.”

Existing space at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre will be renovated and expanded to include:

  • Additional cardiovascular surgery inpatient cardiac care unit beds;
  • A new surgical suite equipped with C-arm imaging technology and recovery area;
  • An expanded ambulatory care and pre-admission clinic;
  • A new vascular lab; and
  • Renovations to medical devices reprocessing and biomedical departments.

The new program will increase capacity and address surgical wait times in other hospitals across the province that currently perform cardiovascular surgeries for patients from Northwestern Ontario.

thunder bay hospital

“A full cardiovascular surgery program at our Hospital will allow patients in Northwestern Ontario to be provided with the same quality cardiovascular care as they would in Southern Ontario, but without the added stress and expense of having to travel,” said Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, president and CEO of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences.

“It also enables patients living in Northwestern Ontario to receive the life-saving procedures they need in a community that is more sensitive to their needs and more familiar with their circumstances.”

The 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, outlined a total of $1.8 billion in additional investments for hospitals in 2021-22.

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is equipped with 375 acute care beds and serves more than over 250,000 people from Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.

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