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The province is investing more money into Stratford General Hospital to further reduce wait times for surgeries and diagnostic tests.
Minister of Rural Affairs, Jeff Leal, announced $239,500 in funding in support of the Liberals' health care action plan at a press conference at the hospital Monday afternoon, where he was joined by Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance staff and board members.
The funding will be used to provide more diagnostic scans, though it wasn't immediately clear for which procedures.
Wait times at Stratford General are already among the best in the province, Leal noted, adding the hospital here, much like in his home riding of Peterborough, serves an urban centre and surrounding rural population.
"(The hospital's) track record to date, some of the shortest wait times in the area, certainly typifies the kind of investment that we've been making in smaller communities across the province, and achieving significant results," he added, when speaking with media after the press conference.
According to a media handout, 100 per cent of general and cataract surgeries are being performed at Stratford General within the 182 day target, while 95 per cent of CT scans are completed within the 28 day target. Eighty per cent of non-urgent MRIs are being performed within the 28 days target and 70 per cent of knee replacements are completed within the 182 day target.
"By measuring wait times we are ensuring that residents receive faster health care, closer to home," Leal said. "I fundamentally believe that government can create the conditions for success, recognizing that it is due to the hard work of the people in their very room that residents are getting access to such excellent care."
Alliance CEO, Andrew Williams, said it is always gratifying to hear accolades extended to the health care team at the alliance, which he noted has identified access to care as a key directive.
"The (alliance) board is very clear when they set the tone for the organization on expectations. We certainly know as a team that improving access is always going to be one of the key objectives. That is very gratifying for our patients and their families," he added.
Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece made the trip back to Stratford from Queen's Park, where the legislature was sitting for the first day of the fall session, to attend the funding announcement, thought he did not make any formal comments at the event. Shortly after the announcement, however, his office sent out a press release congratulating the hospital for achieving success in its wait time but also criticizing the Liberal government for its "inexcusable lack of meaningful action on another key health care issue: the doctor shortage.
"In his speech today, the minister didn't even mention the doctor shortage affecting our community," Pettapiece said in the statement. "Seniors and families are going to our emergency rooms, sometimes just for routine visits or to get the prescription they need. Without a trusted family doctor, where else are they supposed to go?”