Ontario Helping Critically-Ill Newborns Access Safe and Timely Transportation

Published on June 13, 2019

Province Investing in Frontline Health Services


LONDON — Each year, more than 2,000 newborn babies in the province need to be transferred to a children's hospital to get specialized, intensive care. That's why Ontario's Government for the People is helping the smallest and most vulnerable patients access life-saving transportation to get the treatment they need.

Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was at Middlesex-London Paramedic Services to announce $6.8 million to support transporting critically-ill newborns safer and faster. This funding will go towards five specially-equipped ambulances and a team of paramedics in key regions across the province, including southwestern Ontario.

The four children's hospitals in Ontario that will support the specially-equipped ambulances, including the Children's Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre, will also jointly receive nearly $5.8 million this year to support highly-specialized teams and ensure they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These teams can include specially-trained registered nurses, respiratory therapists and neonatologists. 

"Our government is protecting what matters most to Ontario families by ensuring the most vulnerable patients can safely access the life-saving care they need, when they need it," said Elliott. "This innovative partnership between paramedics and hospitals will reduce the time needed to transport a critically-ill newborn between hospitals by an estimated 19 per cent and provide better coordinated care to families during a difficult time."

At-risk newborns will experience better-connected care through:

  • Ambulances with life-saving equipment, including a power assisted stretcher and loading system
  • Availability of two paramedics per transport 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Improved patient transfers that are safer and better coordinated
  • Decreased transport time between hospitals.

"Middlesex County and Middlesex London Paramedic Service appreciate today's announcement and the support from Minister Elliott and the province of Ontario," said Neal Roberts, Chief of the Middlesex-London Paramedic Service. "We all share in the commitment to improving service and connected care when we are caring for all of Ontario's patients. Today's announcement is an investment with a goal to improving Ontario's health care system by ensuring that these investments are making a difference in our health care system."

"London Health Sciences Centre welcomes this investment in providing vital transport services to the province's tiniest patients," said Dr. Paul Woods, President and Chief Executive Officer, London Health Sciences Centre. "As a regional tertiary care centre, our Paediatric Critical Care Team transports approximately 425 infants and children per year through a dedicated transport team available seven days a week, 365 days of the year. The investment announced today in both this highly-specialized team, as well as a dedicated ambulance will ensure that we are able to provide high-quality, timely access to care for these young patients and their families."

Quick Facts

  • Of the 140,000 newborns born in Ontario annually, more than 2,000 require transport to a higher level of care and 91 per cent of these transports occur by land ambulance.
  • Highly specialized emergency medical service teams provide transportation for critically-ill newborns at four sites: Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Children’s Hospital of London Health Sciences Centre, McMaster Children’s Hospital and Hospital for Sick Children.

Additional Resources