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The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), has announced that spending on Canada's health care system is expected to reach $80 billion in 1998, an increase of 3.8% from the $77.1 billion for 1997. This figure largely reflects anticipated increases in provincial government sector spending. The projections come from the Institute's report, National Health Expenditure Trends, 1975-1998. Graphs, tables and the executive summary of CIHI's report are available from CIHI's website: www.cihi.ca.
Following a directive issued by the Canadian Government, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) and Hema-Quebec have announced plans to adopt leukocyte (white blood cell) reduction of all blood and blood products used in Canada by June 30, 1999. Earlier this year, Canada was one of the first countries in the world to implement filtering of all platelets for transfusion. The new directive expands filtering to include all blood and blood components, placing Canada alongside the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Ireland and others requiring 100% leukocyte reduction. In the United States, where only 17% of the blood supply is filtered, the FDA is now considering universal leukocyte reduction, following a 13 to 0 recommendation by its Blood Products Advisory Committee. Filtration is an important line of defense against known infectious agents and, perhaps, other emerging or yet-to-be discovered viruses or bacteria.
Ontario, Long-Term Care Minister Cam Jackson announced that $270 million to be saved through the restructuring of Toronto-area hospitals. Prior to health care restructuring, there were 39 different corporations operating hospitals in Toronto. Thirty-nine different Boards with presidents, vice-presidents and management offices. After restructuring 15 will disappear. Hospital closures include: - Wellesley Hospital, Closure - December 1999; Doctors Hospital, Closure - June 1998; Salvation Army Grace, Closure - November 2000; Hillcrest, Closure - July 1998; Northwestern Hospital, Closure - June 1999; Orthopedic and Arthritic, September 1999; Riverdale Hospital, Closure - March 2000; Runnymede Hospital; Closure - March 2000. Just about every other hospital in the Toronto area will see financial restructuring without closure.
MDS Laboratories has signed a collaborative agreement with ARUP Institute for Clinical and Experimental Pathology, Salt Lake City, Utah. MDS and ARUP will be collaborating on the development of new diagnostic assays using MDS tandem mass spectrometry. "The application of advanced tandem mass spectrometry developed by MDS to the clinical diagnostics field opens a whole new dimension in the arsenal of tools that are currently available. We look forward to working with MDS to develop the new assays that can be used by physicians to diagnose, monitor and treat disease," said Mark Astill, Group Manager of Research and Development and Assistant Vice-President at ARUP. The initial assay groups targeted are in the cardiac, thyroid, nutritional assessment and endocrinology areas.
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