December 17, 2002

Kris Dundas
Media Relations & Communications Officer
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
The University of Western Ontario
(519) 661-2111, ext. 86415

Nancy Lawrence
Communications Consultant, LHSC
(519) 685-8500, ext. 77642


(LONDON, Ontario) - The announcement of a long-awaited alternate funding agreement (AFA) for the department of pediatrics at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is a tremendous boost for the community, and the hospital's retention and recruitment efforts for highly specialized physicians.

The $6.5 million for an AFA announced by Tony Clement, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care at LHSC today, will affect 18 pediatric specialists at the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario, and pave the way to appoint an additional 14.

Dr. Tim Frewen, city-wide chief and chair of the department of pediatrics, says, "The funding agreement is great news for the hospital, and vital to supporting current and future physicians to ensure the best possible care continues to be provided for the children of Southwestern Ontario. The new funding formula helps to reinforce an aggressive physician recruitment effort currently underway for the department of pediatrics and will protect the important role pediatric physicians play in academic research and teaching."

LHSC President and CEO, Tony Dagnone, says, "The significant funding announced today is a huge investment in the children of tomorrow who will need health care. It is a vote of confidence in this hospital, and the specialized children's health care the physicians and staff provide for this community. There is no question that the AFA will serve the people of London and the southwestern region extremely well."

Dagnone adds, "The AFA recognizes the valuable contributions of physicians, not only in patient care, but also in the areas of research and teaching. In addition, the new funding plan moves London Health Sciences Centre, and indeed all of our healthcare partners in London, in line with other Canadian academic health sciences centres, thereby strengthening our ability to attract pediatric specialists in a highly competitive field."

Dr. Carol Herbert, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, says, "The alternate funding agreement makes it possible for London's medical community to continue to be an important node in the network of academic pediatric centres in Canada. It will provide Western, in collaboration with LHSC and St. Joseph's Health Care, greater strength in the recruitment and retention of top pediatric specialists with solid academic credentials and achievements, as well as excellence in patient care."

The alternate funding agreement announced today is the result of four years of negotiation between LHSC, the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.