Ontario Boosting Access to Primary Care for People Across the Province
Province Expanding and Enhancing Interprofessional Health Care Teams
As part of the 2017 Budget, Ontario is helping more people across the province access teams of health care professionals, to ensure patients can receive comprehensive and personalized health care where they need it.
John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health, on behalf of Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was at the Women's Health in Women's Hands Community Health Centre in Toronto today to highlight Ontario's new investments in interprofessional care.
These health care teams bring together a diverse group of health care professionals to help meet the individual and often complex needs of patients. These teams can include doctors, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physician assistants, dietitians, pharmacists, mental health workers, social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, chiropractors and other professionals.
There are currently 294 interprofessional care teams across Ontario that are delivering care to more than four million people. Ontario is investing $248.4 million over the next three years to:
- Support existing teams, including recruiting new staff and retaining current health care workers
- Create new care teams across the province so that every region in Ontario has at least one team
Interprofessional care teams deliver primary care to help patients with their specific health care goals and needs, ranging from managing chronic disease, to addressing complex health needs, to helping a patient deal with a life challenge that is negatively impacting their health. These teams also empower patients and their families to be active participants in working toward their health care goals.
Ontario is increasing access to care, reducing wait times and improving the patient experience through its Patients First Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare Program - protecting health care today and into the future
- Ontario’s $248.4 million investment over three years in Interprofessional Care Teams includes $102 million to support the expansion of interprofessional primary care teams, and around $145 million for the recruitment and retention of dedicated health care professionals
- $15 million will be invested in 2017/18 to create new or expand existing interprofessional care teams so that all 76 sub-regions across the province have a team
- This investment is in addition to the $85 million in investments in interprofessional teams in the 2016 Budget
- As part of the 2017 Budget, Ontario also announced that it is making prescription medications free for all children and youth 24 years of age and younger, regardless of family income. Coverage will be automatic, with no upfront costs
“Our investment in team-based care will improve access to primary care for communities across the province who need it most. Patients receive better care when providers from all disciplines work closely with, and learn from, their health care colleagues. Caring for someone by combining everyone’s expertise can only result in better health outcomes for those who need and deserve the best health care”
Dr. Eric Hoskins
“We want to thank the government today for strengthening high-quality, people-centred primary care – the foundation of Ontario’s health system – by improving access to interprofessional teams for the Ontarians who need it most. Planning based on people’s needs means better health outcomes for everyone, and fair compensation means our teams can recruit and retain the highly skilled, caring and committed health professionals people and communities need”
“We congratulate Minister Hoskins and the government of Ontario for making interprofessional primary care teams a strategic priority. The expansion of primary care teams across the province coupled with the resources that will improve recruitment and retention of primary care providers will enhance and sustain positive health outcomes for our clients, the organizations that serve them and the Ontario health system as a whole. This announcement will ensure the inclusion of diverse healthcare voices in collaborative decision making which we know is the best measure of quality client care.”