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Children's Health Coalition Statement
Children’s Health Coalition Statement
November 4, 2021

Children’s Health Coalition Welcomes Ontario Government’s $8 Million Investment to Support Eating Disorder Services at Children’s Hospitals

TORONTO, November 4, 2021 – The Children’s Health Coalition welcomes the $8 million in new investments by the Government of Ontario to provide urgent children’s hospital capacity to treat eating disorders.

Children’s health providers have seen a rise in the intensity and severity of mental illness in children through the pandemic. Eating disorder emergency department visits at children’s hospitals increased by 1.5 to 2.6 times with hospitalizations increasing 1.5 to 1.9 times. Even before the pandemic, emergency department visits and hospitalizations for children and youth with mental health issues nearly doubled between 2006/2007 and 2018/2019.

The investments announced today will help ensure capacity in children’s hospitals to provide acute stabilization for children and youth with eating disorders. We look forward to working with the government on a longer-term plan to build up community-based programs for children and youth with eating disorders and other serious and complex mental illness that both provide earlier intervention as well as step down from acute hospital care once their medical needs have stabilized.

The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the physical, developmental and mental health of children. Wait times and wait lists have grown substantially. Children need to be at the centre of the response and recovery strategy and we look forward to continuing to work with government to ensure that children and youth have access to the care they need.

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McMaster Children’s Hospital Eating Disorders Program:

  • 90% increase in referrals to the program (March 2020-2021)
  • 55% increase in total number of admissions (October 2020-2021)
  • 23% increase in in-patient bed occupancy (October 2020-2021)

“We are grateful for the government’s investment in child and youth mental health, particularly funding to help those challenged by eating disorders. Our program at McMaster Children’s Hospital has seen an overwhelming volume of referrals over the past year, very often involving incredibly sick children and youth who need drastic interventions to stabilize their health and wellbeing. This investment is an acknowledgement that many kids are still in crisis from the pandemic, and will likely be for some time to come. This funding is a huge step toward enabling our team and others across the province to provide the care children and youth need along their journeys back to health.”

– Bruce Squires, President, McMaster Children’s HospitalFor more information, please contact:

Wendy Stewart
Communications & Public Affairs
HHS
stewartwen@hhsc.ca

 

About the Children’s Health Coalition: The Children’s Health Coalition is a collective of children’s health organizations, including CHEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, SickKids, Kids Health Alliance, McMaster Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital – London Health Sciences Centre, Children’s Mental Health Ontario and Empowered Kids Ontario.