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A Step in the Right Direction: New Funds for Pediatric Care Are A Welcome Step in "Right-Sizing" Children's Health System

OTTAWA, Feb. 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Children's Healthcare Canada and the Pediatric Chairs of Canada are pleased to see the convening of a successful First Ministers meeting to discuss health care funding. We commend the commitment of the Prime Minister and Premiers in prioritizing children's health with the new pledge of $2 billion dollars towards addressing the crisis in pediatrics, including emergency and surgical care.

"This announcement is a welcome first-step towards improving healthcare for children. These historic funds will help to catch up on backlogs for essential services and stabilize the pressures experienced by healthcare systems serving children across Canada," states Julia Hanigsberg, Board Chair for Children's Healthcare Canada and President and CEO of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.  

Children's health systems have been overwhelmed recently by a convergence of shortages of essential medicines, spikes in respiratory and viral illnesses and surges in urgent and emergent care, resulting in total shutdowns of procedural and surgical capacity. This coupled with historic underinvestment in child and youth well-being has resulted in worsening health outcomes for Canadian children. Where Canada once ranked amongst the top ten OECD countries for child and youth health outcomes, we now rank among the bottom ten.

Children's Healthcare Canada and the Pediatric Chairs of Canada are pleased to see the federal government and provinces sharing alignment in key healthcare priorities impacting children, including increasing access to primary care, addressing health workforce shortages, improving access to mental health services, enhancing Indigenous health, and modernizing the health system through data sharing and digital tool utilization.

"The funds announced this week are an important first step towards addressing the ongoing crisis in children's healthcare. The next step now is ensuring that we are also addressing the longer-term goal of "right-sizing" pediatric health systems to meet the demands of Canada's growing population of children," says Emily Gruenwoldt, President and CEO, of Children's Healthcare Canada, and Executive Director of Pediatric Chairs of Canada. "Going forward, we hope to see all levels of government commit to the development of a pan-Canadian child and youth health strategy with sustained investments towards improving children's health outcomes."

Over the past year, Children's Healthcare Canada and the Pediatric Chairs of Canada have actively engaged all levels of government to call for investments to address the crisis in children's healthcare and support a pan-Canadian child and youth health strategy. As governments look now to "fix healthcare for a generation", it is imperative we start first with our children who will make up Canada's future.

Children's Healthcare Canada in partnership with our members and academic leaders, will continue to elevate concerns about the state of children's healthcare and work closely with federal, provincial and territorial policymakers to strengthen pediatric health care systems and improve access and outcomes for all generations of children in Canada.

About Us: Children's Healthcare Canada is a national association serving healthcare delivery organizations that care for children and youth. Membership includes all 16 children's hospitals in Canada, community hospitals, children's treatment centres, regional health authorities, palliative care, respite, and home care agencies.

The Pediatric Chairs of Canada represents the Department Heads of Pediatrics within Canada's 17 medical schools.

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