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Most smaller Ontario communities currently have access to hospital services. Will they in the future?

Key findings from a new ICES report on health care services for people in small town Ontario:

In 2009, communities with 30,000 or fewer residents comprised 2,588,144 people—approximately 22.7% of the Ontario population.
Emergency departments were accessible within 30 minutes by car for 97.8% of the population in communities of 30,000 or fewer  people and within 60 minutes for 99.0% of that population. All Ontario communities with a population of at least 5,000 people had access to an emergency department within 30 minutes.  185 communities were more than 30 minutes travel time from an emergency department (131 in northern Ontario and 54 in southern Ontario). Fifty-five communities did not have access to an emergency department within 60 minutes—all were in northern Ontario. (Institutions were defined as having emergency departments if were open 24/7 and were located at hospital sites with inpatient beds.)
Hospitals with obstetrical delivery beds were accessible to 93.8% of the population in communities of 30,000 or fewer people within 30 minutes and 98.1% within 60 minutes.
 Hospitals with specialized services (trauma centres, burn units, interventional cardiology centres, and neurosurgical centres) were, however, less accessible.   The study estimates 40.5% of people living in communities with less than 30,000 people were located within a 30 minute drive and 72.2% were within a 60-minute drive.

dallan@cupe.ca

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