The signature conference and exhibition of the Ontario Hospital Association for almost 90 years,HealthAchieve has long been one of the largest and most respected healthcare events in North America the preeminent gathering place for health care and business leaders.Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews made the closing remarks at this year’s event.
Some highlights of that closing speech:
Ontario now has the most comprehensive newborn screening program in Canada.Just 10 years ago, we screened for only 2 diseases. Today, thanks to the great work at Newborn Screening Ontario at CHEO,we screen for 29.
The newest one is Severe Combined Immune Deficiency, SCIDs, or Bubble Boy disease.
We want to do everything we can to protect teenagers against cancer. It’s why we have passed legislation now to ban the use of tanning beds by kids under 18. And it’s why we are so committed to our Smoke Free Ontario Strategy. A big part of this strategy is focused on preventing young people from ever lighting up.
The good news is smoking rates are down in Ontario. They’re down significantly HEALTHACHIEVE from about 24.5% in the year 2000 to about 19% now. We’re going to keep on working until we have the lowest smoking rate in Canada. That means we have to get below B.C., which is now at 14.5%.
Family health teams now are employing 2,500 doctors and 1,800 interdisciplinary health professionals, such as Nurse Practitioners, Social Workers and Dietitians, providing holistic care for nearly three million patients across this province.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Wait Times Alliance has given Ontario straight A’s for reducing surgical wait times in five priority areas.
At the end of the health care journey is palliative care, end-of-life care, and we are determined to give Ontarians dignity throughout their final days.
We have expanded hospice care across the province. We have 30 residential hospices now up and running, and we have 70 community-based nurse practitioner new palliative care positions.
In just one year, 37 Health Links have been created. And we’re shooting for the entire province to be covered, so that every person in Ontario who needs that special care, will get that special care.