All critically ill children deserve access to specialized health care, regardless of their place of origin or geographic location. However, many countries do not have the level of care available at SickKids to provide the type of treatment required, either due to economic circumstances or insufficient capacity to provide ongoing access to specialized treatment.
While the focus of care and priority at SickKids will always be meeting the needs of children who are residents of Ontario, we acknowledge that there is a moral responsibility to provide care to critically ill children from abroad. By consistently applying key principles outlined below in screening all requests, we ensure that care can be provided to international children in need of specialized care, while ensuring children of Ontario always have full and timely access to care and treatment at SickKids.
- As a referral hospital located within the Province of Ontario, SickKids' priority for patient care is focused on the treatment of Ontario children requiring emergent, urgent and/or critical care. At no time will an international patient be placed ahead of an Ontario based patient;
- The International Patient Program activities focus on international patients seeking to access those clinical areas and programs within SickKids that have additional internal capacity to accept international patients;
- International patient admissions are less than two per cent of all hospital admissions annually. By doing so, SickKids ensures that providing care to an international child will not negatively impact on access to care for children from Ontario or Canada;
- Based on regulatory guidelines set by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care as well as the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), SickKids may only consider those international children seeking complex medical and/or surgical care that is high specialized (or unique to SickKids) and that is not available in a child's home country or region. The Surgeon in Chief and/or the Paediatrician in Chief undertakes a final review and approval of all international treatment plans to ensure compliance with CMPA guidelines;
- Applicants up to 17 years of age may be considered, provided the proposed treatment is completed by his/her 18th birthday;
- Where possible, SickKids will use technology in conjunction with the unique capabilities of the SickKids team to provide cost effective and efficient clinical care and expert advice for our international patients and families.
All revenue generated through international patient activity is directed back to SickKids to support program development and capacity growth, all of which will also directly benefit Ontario patients. At no time is any money originally allocated by the Ontario Ministry of Health for the treatment of Ontario residents redirected toward the treatment of International Patients. All planned international admissions require pre-payment in full before treatment is scheduled or provided, or a letter of guarantee of payment from the insurance provider or foreign government agency.
International Patient Program Service Offerings
Please click on the headings below for more detailed information regarding out service offerings.
More information on how international patients can apply for care at SickKids please click here.
If you are a physician outside of Canada who is referring a patient to SickKids for treatment, please click here.
For further information regarding the International Patient Program, please contact the International Patient Program office.