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$17.1 million investment will expand lifesaving cancer treatment and improve access to care

ALEXANDRA HILKENE, Office of Minister Elliott

As part of its plan to build a stronger, more resilient healthcare system better prepared to respond to a crisis, the Ontario government is investing $17.1 million to expand healthcare services at University Health Network (UHN).

This investment includes up to $5 million to plan for Canada’s first-ever hospital-based proton beam therapy facility, which will provide innovative lifesaving cancer treatment to patients.

“Our government is building a stronger, more resilient health care system [which] ensures all Ontarians have access to the high-quality care they need and deserve,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “By investing in UHN’s new proton beam therapy facility, we are bringing innovative new technology to Ontario, making it easier and more convenient for patients to receive treatment close to home.”

Proton beam therapy is an advanced form of cancer treatment which delivers radiation therapy to targeted tumour cells, reducing radiation to surrounding healthy tissues. Patients who receive this innovative treatment may have fewer long-term side effects, especially children with brain tumours and adults with certain types of cancer.

Currently, Canada does not have a hospital-based proton beam therapy facility. Presently, patients who require proton beam therapy treatment must travel to the United States to receive care. UHN’s new proton beam therapy facility will bring this lifesaving treatment to Canada. So patients can receive high-quality care when they need it, provided by world-class health care professionals closer to home.

The proton beam therapy facility would include up to five treatment suites, to support approximately 1,500 pediatric and adult patients annually. Ontario is working with the Proton Therapy Planning Group, a collaboration between Ontario Health–Cancer Care Ontario, the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre – University Health Network on further planning to help address the health care needs of patients and families.

In addition, to further support high-quality care and build a stronger health care system, up to $12.1 million will be used to support UHN’s Hillcrest Reactivation Centre. The centre operates 75 transitional care beds, to provide care to patients waiting to move from a hospital to home, community or long-term care. This funding will support key renovations and improve existing infrastructure, to ensure patients can continue to receive high-quality care in a comfortable environment.

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