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Improving ER Services In Rural And Northern Ontario

Ontario is asking a group of leading health care experts to examine and develop recommendations for improving emergency services in small and rural communities.

Due to the small size of some rural and northern ERs, minor staffing challenges – a doctor’s unforeseen family emergency or a nurse’s unexpected illness, for example – can impact a hospital’s emergency services.

The new Emergency Room Task Force – which is made up of 14 experts from across the province and includes emergency room doctors – will develop recommendations to help emergency rooms in rural and northern areas adapt to staffing challenges while ensuring local communities continue to have access to high quality emergency care. The panel will submit a final report to the government in the spring.

As a result of government investments and the commitment of the province’s health professionals, there have been no unplanned ER closures in Ontario since 2003.  By launching the Emergency Room Task Force, the province will maintain and build on this success while helping small and rural hospitals improve regional emergency health care services.

The work of the Emergency Room Task Force supports the province’s five-year Open Ontario Plan to provide more access to health care services while improving quality and accountability for patients.


Emergency Room Task Force Members

Dr. Joshua Tepper
ADM Health Human Resources Strategy – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Suzanne McGurn
Director, Negotiations and Accountability – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Dr. Andrew Affleck
Emergency Department Lead – Northwest Local Health Integration Network
Malcolm Bates
Director, Emergency Health Services – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Bernie Blais 
CEO, North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN
Vanessa Burkoski
Provincial Chief Nursing Officer
Tom Closson
President and CEO, Ontario Hospital Association
Ken Deane
ADM, Health System Accountability and Performance – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Mary Fleming
Director, Primary Health Care – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Dr. Atul Kapur
Ontario Medical Association
Dr. Louise McNaughton-Filion
Emergency Department Lead – Champlain Local Health Integration Network
Dr. Lisa Shepherd
Emergency Department Lead – South-West Local Health Integration Network
Roz Smith
HealthForceOntario, Associate, Ontario Physician Locum Program
Gary Switzer
CEO, Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network
Elsa van Vliet
Director, Ontario Physician Locum Programs, HealthForceOntario, Marketing and Recruitment Agency

Learn More

Find out more about Emergency Room Wait Times in Ontario

Find out more about Health Care Options in your community other than the Emergency Department

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