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Paramedics wheel a gurney out from the emergency department at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on Jan. 13, 2021.Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

The Ontario Medical Association is recommending that the province fund a new model for outpatient health care centres to help tackle a growing backlog of surgeries and other procedures.

A new report from the doctors’ group outlines a proposal to create Integrated Ambulatory Centres across the province, which would work with local hospitals to perform medical services insured by the province.

The professional group says the plan would free up hospital beds so hospitals can focus on responding to acute and emergency patients without sacrificing non-acute care.

The report published Wednesday included analysis that found a backlog of more than one million surgeries in Ontario by the end of last year.

That figure doesn’t account for procedures that were cancelled during the recent Omicron wave of COVID-19 and people who need services but didn’t engage with the health system during the pandemic.

The group says the health system should working now to clear the surgical backlog while building up the Integrated Ambulatory Centres model, a process it says could take up to eight years.

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