McGuinty Government’s Investment Helping ERs Better Serve Patients

Ontario is helping to reduce the time York Region residents spend in emergency rooms.

This year, the following hospitals are receiving funding to further reduce ER wait times by implementing various initiatives:

  • York Central Hospital $1,933,162
  • Markham Stouffville Hospital - Markham Site $829,584
  • Southlake Regional Health Centre $2,154,936

A new component of this year’s provincial effort to decrease ER wait times is funding for hospital short-stay beds that will reduce the time admitted patients spend in the ER. The beds will help improve the flow in ERs by ensuring patients receive the right care in the right setting and are transferred out of the ER sooner.

With this investment, York Central Hospital will operate eight short-stay unit beds, and Southlake Regional Health Centre will operate ten. Short-stay beds will be located on the hospital’s in-patient wards, and only patients admitted through the ER will have access to these beds. They may stay for a maximum of 72 hours before being discharged or transferred to another ward in the hospital.

These hospitals are also receiving bonus funding for treating more patients within provincial targets in the second half of the last fiscal year:

  • York Central Hospital $104,500
  • Markham Stouffville – Markham Site $137,500
  • Southlake Regional Health Centre $535,200

As of March 2011, eighty-six per cent of York Central Hospital’s ER patients were treated within the provincial targets which are four hours for patients with minor/uncomplicated conditions and eight hours for patients with complex or serious conditions. Eighty-eight per cent of ER patients at Markham Stouffville Hospital - Markham Site were treated within these targets, as were eighty-two per cent of ER patients at Southlake Regional Health Centre.Since the province started measuring wait times in 2008, York Central Hospital has been able to reduce its ER wait times by 1 hour (9%) thanks in part to Ontario’s effort to reduce ER wait times. Markham Stouffville Hospital – Markham Site has been able to reduce its ER wait times by 1.3 hours (15%).

Today's announcement is part of the government's Open Ontario Plan to provide more access to health care services while improving quality and accountability for patients.


“York Central Hospital has clearly shown itself to be a leader in taking innovative steps to provide timely, high quality emergency care for its patients. These efforts not only improve access to high quality health care, but also they are helping to improve the patient experience.
- Reza Moridi, MPP Richmond Hill

“I’m especially proud of the hospitals that consistently provide high quality, efficient care for patients in their community and I’m excited to be moving forward with this investment and the new short stay beds program so we can keep building on this progress.”
-Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“Our thanks to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for their investment in reducing Emergency Department wait times in our hospital and to our staff, physicians and volunteers who have worked hard to streamline our care processes and initiate a new short stay unit.”
- Altaf Stationwala, President and CEO, York Central Hospital

Pay-for-Results funding is helping hospitals in the Central LHIN reduce the time people wait in emergency departments, which is a priority for the community, Central LHIN and the province. The staff and physicians at York Central Hospital, Markham Stouffville Hospitals and Southlake Regional Health Centre Hospital have achieved good results to-date under the program, and combined these three hospitals will receive nearly $5 million in 2011/12 that will be invested where it’s needed most – at the front line.
– Kim Baker, Chief Executive, Officer, Central LHIN

“Our government’s strong initiatives to measure and improve ER wait times have consistently yielded results, here in Markham and across the province. We are listening to Ontarians and working with our hospitals to make strategic investments that will continue the progress made to provide the best value for healthcare dollars.”
- Michael Chan, MPP Markham-Unionville

“This new funding is another important investment our government is making towards improving the patient experience with emergency health care in our community. “
-Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP Oak Ridges-Markham

"By 2003, critical underfunding of our hospitals had created dangerously long wait times. Our government committed to reducing those wait times in every area of the health-care system, including emergency rooms. And, we've made major, measurable, improvements across a number of key health procedures, like hip and knee replacement, heart surgery, and cancer treatments. Today, we measure and track wait times: we not only invest more in our health services, we invest more smartly. Today, 84% of patients who visit an ER are seen within provincial targets."
- Greg Sorbara, MPP Vaughan


  • Ontario is providing a total of $100 million to help 74 Ontario hospitals put in place initiatives that reduce bottlenecks in the ER – such as patient flow tracking systems and hiring nurse practitioners to treat patients with less complex conditions.
  • These busy hospitals represent more than 75 per cent of all ER visits in Ontario.
  • 84 per cent of all Ontario patients who visit emergency rooms are being seen within the provincial targets which are four hours for patients with minor/uncomplicated conditions and eight hours for patients with complex/serious conditions.
  • Total time spent in ER is the maximum time nine out of 10 Ontarians spend in the ER and is measured from the moment patients register or initially see a triage nurse until the time they leave the ER. The time they leave the ER may be when they are sent home after being treated or when they are admitted to hospital.
  • The government will also be helping more alternate level of care (ALC) patients find appropriate care in the community by increasing funding to the community care sector by three per cent in 2011/12.


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