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Ontario licenses facility to perform cataract procedures

TORONTO – The Ontario government has licensed a not-for-profit Toronto organization to provide 5,000 cataract surgeries annually on an outpatient basis. The Kensington Eye Institute is being recognized by the government as a ‘Centre of Excellence’.

The institute has raised all capital funds through its Kensington Foundation. The government will provide operating funds, estimated to be $5 million annually. Cataract surgery is a relatively simple surgery well-suited to being performed in an outpatient care facility like Kensington. Providing only cataract surgeries in a single facility will mean a more efficient delivery of this health service.

“The Kensington Eye Institute will significantly increase the province’s capacity for cataract surgeries, and it will reduce wait times,” said Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman. “These surgeries will greatly enhance the quality of life for many Ontarians, especially seniors with failing sight.”

“With the opening of the Kensington Eye Institute we are taking a major step forward in proving timely, high quality eye care for our patients with cataracts in the Toronto area,” said Dr. Andrew Budning, Chair of the Ophthalmology section, Ontario Medical Association.

The downtown Toronto clinic will perform 5,000 new, routine cataract surgeries annually. In addition, another 1,700 annual procedures will be moved to Kensington from Toronto’s four acute-care teaching hospitals – University Health Network, Mount Sinai Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital and Sunnybrook and Women’s Hospital. This will free up operating rooms at these facilities for more complex eye surgeries.

“We share the government’s vision for quality, efficient care in most appropriate settings. Congratulations on this innovative initiative,” said Joe Mapa, President and CEO of Mount Sinai Hospital.

“The Kensington Eye Institute will provide a state-of-the-art medical, teaching and research facility, with the latest technology and equipment that will harness under-utilized professional medical resources,” said Brian McFarlane, CEO of the Kensington Eye Institute. “It is the unique relationship between the institute and four University of Toronto-affiliated teaching hospitals that will allow individual healthcare providers to deliver innovative services in the most professional, efficient and cost-effective manner possible.”

The new cataract surgery centre of excellence will also be an important University of Toronto training site and will help train Ontario’s future ophthalmologists. Over 30 ophthalmologists will be affiliated with the Kensington Eye Institute and with the University of Toronto teaching faculty.

“Kensington will be a excellent training centre for our eye surgeons of the future,” said Dr. Jeff Hurwitz, Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto. “Because all of the surgeons at Kensington will be University of Toronto-appointed ophthalmologists, we can ensure that our residents will continue to be trained at the highest level.”

The Kensington Eye Institute is a not-for-profit corporation licensed as an independent health facility. It is one of almost 1,000 independent health facilities providing publicly-funded services in Ontario’s healthcare system. There are no charges to patients for provincially insured services at independent health facilities.

This initiative supports Premier Dalton McGuinty plan to build a healthcare system that builds on three priorities – keeping Ontarians healthy, reducing wait times and improving access to doctors and nurses.