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Growing McMaster Children’s Hospital

Growing MCH

We’re growing McMaster Children’s Hospital

On July 19, 2023, McMaster Children’s Hospital received a significant investment from the provincial government to provide more specialized care to a greater number of children.

This investment – the largest investment in the hospital’s history – has the potential to transform the way pediatric care is accessed and experienced by children, youth, and families in our region and province.

Twenty-four pediatric programs and services have been identified to grow through this investment, which will:

  • Expand and enhance services, spaces and equipment
  • Attract additional qualified team members, and add new clinicians and team members
  • Reduce wait times for essential children’s health care services such as surgeries, procedures, diagnostic imaging, mental health treatment, and child development and rehabilitation

The timing of this funding is crucial. Many children have been waiting too long for essential care, services, and treatment – some even surpassing the time frames recommended by clinicians. The investment includes some programs of Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre (RJCHC), a McMaster Children’s Hospital site.

A leading regional service hub

Eva, a youg patient using a wheelchair. She is wearing an orange dress, blue frame glasses and has a stuffed toy on her lap.As a national leader in pediatric care, we have the necessary expertise and experience to successfully implement this service expansion. Expanding our team and areas of care is crucial to achieve our goals more quickly and getting kids back to being kids sooner.

MCH and RJCHC are also spaces of learning and innovation. Through active engagement with peer hospitals in Ontario, McMaster University and Mohawk College, we can build on research and development from top clinicians and staff and deliver advanced care. This investment will also seed partnerships with local service providers who can offer more options for families in the region.

As a leading regional hub for children’s care, the hospital provides a full range of pediatric services to 2.3 million children. With this planned growth, we can continue to support the individual and complex needs of kids and families in our region for generations to come.

MCH is grateful for this historic investment and opportunity to change lives. This investment was part of a $330M provincial investment to four children’s healthcare organizations to better support families across the province.

Text button: Hiring now at MCH


Three photos of children. Two use a trach tube in their necks to breathe.

Patients like Calum, Raiya and Ivan will benefit from program and service expansion.

Making a difference, immediately

We’re growing McMaster Children’s Hospital by addressing challenges across the pediatric health care sector, reducing wait times for children and youth to ensure they receive care within reasonable and recommended timeframes.

Growing MCH will enhance care and hospital efficiency by supporting innovative approaches to existing and new programs. MCH and RJCHC are expanding and updating spaces to accommodate more surgeries, more advanced treatments, and better recovery.

Check back for regular updates on how we’re growing.

The investment from the government has been transformational. We’re already achieving critical milestones that are decreasing wait times and backlogs, increasing our workforce, and improving outcomes for kids.

Currently, some of our programs have the longest waiting lists in the province, including ear, nose & throat clinics and eye clinics.

Within three months, we can already see significant growth within the hospital and improvements to delivering excellent pediatric care.

Seeing the impact


Before Investment At January 1, 2024
Total patient visits to Emergency Department diversion clinics to reduce wait times 0 1,308 (average of 13 visits per day)
Staff recruitment 331 positions to be filled to successfully deliver programs and expand the children’s hospital Recruitment across all programs is 60% complete.
Surgical waitlist 2516 2510
Beyond recommended wait time 66% 71%
Additional highlights Some programs have years-long waitlists. Combined, the Neonatal Transport Team and Pediatric Transport Team have seen an 11% increase in completed transports.


Areas of Growth

Two photos showing the emergency entrance to McMaster Children's Hospital on the left and the whole Ron Joyce Children's Health Centre building on the right.

Patients at McMaster Children’s Hospital and Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre will benefit from this funding.

Here we grow!

McMaster Children’s Hospital is actively working on its operational plan to put this investment into action. We are recruiting more skilled health care workers and physicians and creating more spaces to grow across the two sites.

Twenty-four programs, clinics and initiatives will be supported by this investment to grow and meet the capacity demands of the region. All areas of care have begun or completed implementation of their investment updates.

Updates underway

Eating Disorders

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a significant increase in the number of youths experiencing eating disorders. The Eating Disorders program will be funded to meet new capacity demands with new beds, more space, and additional clinicians.

This is a critical service for families in our region, and the investment will allow us to hire more skilled clinicians and see 35-45 new patients a year.

The investment will also:

  • Increase staffing of clinicians, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, and others, decreasing wait times from initial assessment to treatment.
  • Increase available support groups and resources for patients and families.
  • Grow program space that will accommodate additional beds and an increased staff.
  • Allow each room to have new equipment to support the work of the team.

Overall, the impact of the investment will mean that more patients are removed from the waitlist, and wait times are decreased so children experiencing an eating disorder can access care when they need it.

This work will also result in increased provincial collaboration and medical support to better service the patients.

Genetic Newborn Screening

The expanded Genetic Newborn Screening Initiative will improve care for babies with positive newborn screening results by facilitating earlier treatment and intervention, ultimately improving the long-term outcomes for kids.

Program growth includes:

  • The addition of several clinical assistants that will ultimately improve the team’s capacity to provide the expertise families need
  • Improved data collection and program oversight will reduce the number of false positives and enhance the quality of newborn screening care for all babies across the province
  • Families with diagnosed infants will receive more appropriate care across many areas, including earlier follow-up testing, diagnosis, and treatment

Learn more:

Medically Complex Care

Funding for the Complex Care program will reduce waitlists of the most vulnerable patients, provide better hospital transitions, and help families get the care they need.

The Complex Care program provides holistic care to more than 180 of the most medically fragile children and youth. This group experiences a high level of acuity, morbidity/mortality, and requires close monitoring and intensive care coordination with caregivers/community partners.

The Complex Care team provides comprehensive, holistic care with a multi-disciplinary approach, and consists of a number of skilled clinicians and physicians.

Investment has supported growth in this area by:

  • Building capacity to enhance the current wrap-around services for complex care – in-person and virtual.
  • Hiring support staff, which has allowed providers to support additional patients that would otherwise remain on the waiting list.
  • Establishing additional service provider partnerships to improve the circle of care and help kids transition to adult care.

Learn more:

Rapid Assessment Service Emergency Department Support

The investment will fund the RAS program, allowing non-urgent patients entering the Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) to be triaged to RAS. Many of these patients are seeking treatment for less severe issues, causing significant wait time to see a physician, adding risk to those with an emergency. This will free up ED space and resources for critical cases.

The program has also increased the number of physicians and nurses at peak times to assess and discharge more quickly, improving patient flow.

Learn more:

Same Day Overnight Unit

The investment has funded six new Same Day Overnight (SDO) beds to help address waitlists for orthopedic surgeries, general surgery, urology, plastics, and more.

The SDO Unit ensures care for post-surgical pediatric patients is provided in the most appropriate location with the appropriate skill set of care providers based on the procedure, clinical assessment, and length of stay. The unit ensures continued surgical care for kids – regardless of capacity pressures and potential seasonal surges.

This is a successful initiative across multiple sites at HHS, ensuring surgical patients receive surgical care and recovery within a department that is integrated, adaptable and efficient.

4 New Critical Care Beds

Learn more about our Intensive Care program

4 New Medicine Beds

More information coming soon.

Chronic Pain

More information to come.

Updates in development

Check back for more details as we launch new programs:

Video Updates

Part 1: Our McMaster Children’s Hospital is growing, but what does that mean?

Introducing “Growing McMaster Children’s Hospital: A Chat with Bruce Squires” – a multi-part series that breaks down how we’re transforming our hospital to improve pediatric care.

McMaster Children’s Hospital president, Bruce Squires, explains our vision of how we’re transforming this hospital and why this is critical to ensuring we can provide the right care for kids.

He’ll also highlight some exciting changes you’ll see across the spectrum of specialized care we provide to the Hamilton region and beyond. Over the next year, our efforts to expand our hospital will lay the foundation of care that will benefit children for years to come.


Part 2: We’re tackling our surgical waiting list so kids can get the care they need, faster.

Thanks to new operating funding from the provincial government, we’re investing in new equipment, more beds, more staff and improved services. We’ve created additional surgical rooms and scheduled more time for surgeries. Learn about our new same-day overnight service and our new rapid assessment service in the emergency department.

Part 3: We’re expanding services, spaces, and staff to help reduce the backlog of children waiting for care, improve patient flow, and provide better care for kids.

We’re excited to see how this growth will transform the experience for patients and families, including enhancements to our pediatric intensive care unit, additional beds within our surgical departments, and more specialized professionals to address waitlists in our Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic and Eye Clinic.

Part 4: Our hospital is growing, so our teams are too!

To accommodate new and expanded services, we’re hiring nearly 300 nursing, allied health, and clinical support roles across our hospital to help provide essential care for our youngest patients.

Part 5: Focus on Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre

Did you know Our Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre is home to many programs such as extensive needs services, pediatric mental health programs, rehabilitation services, and one of the largest autism programs in Canada? We’re expanding our teams and services across this site through new provincial investments to provide better care. This will help reduce delays for families who need immediate support.

Part 6: Enhancing our specialized programs

Across McMaster Children’s Hospital, our range of specialized programs is growing to provide better comprehensive care for children with mental health challenges, eating disorders, chronic pain and other conditions. Our eating disorder program will now have additional beds, space, and clinicians to see 35 to 45 new patients annually. The chronic pain program is working towards more efficient care and expanded treatment options to improve our patient’s quality of life.

We’re dedicated to helping children and young adults access the best care possible to grow and thrive. Don’t miss the last episode of “Growing McMaster Children’s Hospital: A Chat with Bruce Squires.”