The provincial government announced Friday $4.5 million in new annual funding to expand an emergency health care clinic for children and provide services including speech-language pathology and physiotherapy.
"This investment in southwestern Ontario will make it easier and faster for young people and their families in the region to connect to the care they need for years to come," said Robin Martin, the parliamentary assistant to the minister of health, in a media release Friday.
The money is part of a $330-million boost to pediatric health care across Ontario announced last summer.
It includes $2.6 million for Windsor Regional Hospital to expand its after-hours pediatric emergency diversion clinic at the Metropolitan Campus to seven days a week, which the government says will ease strain on emergency rooms and help kids get treated faster.
The program has been running three days a week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., which the hospital says are typically busy times when limited services are available outside the hospital.
Since it launched as a pilot project in September, the hospital says more than 400 young patients have been seen.
Service seven days a week starts on March 1 and the funding will cover staff and operating costs.
The remainder of the money is supporting services like speech-language pathology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy for children in Windsor, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia.
The John McGivney Children's Centre, where Friday's announcement took place, is receiving $480,000. Connections Early Years Family Centre in Windsor will be getting a $66,000 boost.
The Children's Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent will receive $519,000 and Pathways Health Centre for Children in Sarnia is receiving $964,000.