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Southlake gets $350K to cope with soaring pediatric admissions

Ontario government increasing annualized funding as hospital sees 51 per cent increase in pediatric admissions

Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket is getting a $350,000 boost from the provincial government as it experiences a spike in pediatric visits.

The increase in annualized funding to increase pediatric capacity is part of a $330-million boost to pediatric care announced last month, with several York Region health services getting funding from a pool of $6.3 million.

The help is needed, according to Puneet Sandhu, director of Southlake’s maternal child program. The hospital's pediatric admissions increased 51 per cent last year, from 649 in 2021-22 to 981 in 2022-23. 

“We appreciate the support of the Ontario government to help ensure our dedicated team can continue to provide leading-edge care for the youngest generation in York Region and beyond for years to come,” she said at a news conference Monday at Southlake. 

Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe-York is receiving $3.7 million and Oak Valley Health in Markham, Stouffville and Uxbridge is getting $2.3 million.

The health agencies will be using the funding to increase access to children’s rehabilitation services, diagnosing and treating children with non-life threatening conditions and helping expectant mothers at Markham Stouffville Hospital’s midwifery unit.

Newmarket-Aurora MPP Dawn Gallagher Murphy said funding is needed, with pediatric centres operating at high capacity.

“The $6.3 million will provide greater access to services for children and youth right here in York Region so that they can connect to the care that they need when they need it and right here in their own community,” she said. “Our investment provides consistent and stable annual funding to support programs and services.”

Several other government officials also visited Southlake for the news event, including King-Vaughan MPP and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce.

Pediatric care across the province has similarly received funding boosts, going to initiatives like boosting surgical staff and immunization catch-up.

Gallagher Murphy said she knows Southlake will use the funds well, recounting her own family’s use of the hospital.

“Families like mine are going to be so happy and relieved with the great services that you provide,” she said.