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Ontario government pumping millions into local pediatric services


The Ontario government is pumping millions into supporting pediatric care in Simcoe County.

The province announced $4 million to boost programs and services at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie and the Children's Treatment Network (CTN) of Simcoe-York.

"This consistent and stable annual funding increase will ensure hospitals and children's rehabilitation providers in Simcoe County have the people, resources and technology to improve access to pediatric care and prevent backlogs," a Wednesday release stated.

RVH will receive $392,000 of the funding to add a third social worker and a child life specialist to help reduce some of the pressures amid a 30 per cent increase in pediatric patients in the last two years.

"We've seen an explosive increase in juvenile diabetes, eating disorders, [and] mental illness," said Gail Hunt, RVH president and CEO. "We need more staff to be able to properly support and give the care these families need."

Meanwhile, CTN - which services Simcoe County and York Region - will get $3,690,000 to hire staff for rehabilitation programming, including speech, physio, and occupation therapies among all age groups.

"But particularly in our youngest families. The impact of COVID has particularly hit the younger families, and there is an increase in need for rehab services in the community," said Kristen Baumann, CTN child development services director.

RVH plans to fill the two new positions in the coming months.

With files from CTV's Christian D'Avino Top Stories

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