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Ontario Making Treatment Faster for Hip, Knee and Lower Back Pain

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Ontario Making Treatment Faster for Hip, Knee and Lower Back Pain

Province Expanding Program to Assess and Treat Muscle and Bone Disorders

Ministry of Health

Ontario is expanding Rapid Access Clinics across the province to help people with hip, knee and lower back pain access the right treatment faster, following a successful pilot program.

John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was at Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa today to make the announcement.

The new clinics will help people with pain in their muscles or bones get the treatment and specialized care they need by reducing unnecessary medical procedures, including imaging and surgery. The clinics will also improve wait times through a coordinated intake and triage process, with patients better able to access the right education and treatment options faster, which could include referrals to proven alternatives to surgery and pain medication like physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment.

Patients will be referred by family physicians to Rapid Access Clinics, where they will be seen within four weeks and given an assessment. Clinical experts agree that innovations
like this lead to a more sustainable health care system, and are just one way that Ontario is leading as a champion of publicly-funded health care in Canada.

Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is investing more than $37 million over the next three years, including $17 million in 2017-18, to expand Rapid Access Clinics so patients with musculoskeletal conditions can access the right care faster.
  • This investment is part of a larger commitment of $245 million over three years in the 2017 Budget to reduce wait times and improve the referral process for treatment of back pain and other conditions.
  • Rapid Access Clinics build on existing models, like the lower back pain pilot program, Interprofessional Spine Assessment and Education Clinics (ISAEC), launched in November 2012. This program has helped over 6,500 people and maintains satisfaction rates of 99 per cent among patients, and 97 per cent for primary care providers.
  • One in three adults are affected by musculoskeletal disorders, which impact the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and connective tissues, and make it difficult to perform daily activities.
  • Family physicians can refer patients to a Rapid Access Clinic to receive an assessment, education and treatment recommendations within four weeks by a physiotherapist or chiropractor.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Musculoskeletal pain can be debilitating and interfere with a person’s quality of life. That’s why Ontario is investing in a central intake system to ensure those who suffer from pain in their hips, knees and lower back can access assessments and treatment options faster and closer to home.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins

Minster of Health and Long-Term Care

“The expansion of Rapid Access Clinics will reduce wait times and increase access to care, key components of Ontario’s Patients First Action Plan for Health Care. Our government is committed to ensuring that people across the province can benefit from this program and receive appropriate treatment when they need it.”

John Fraser

Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“We are proud to have taken the lead to design a regional program that would bring all the hospitals together and change how surgeries are scheduled. We are excited that this new funding will allow us to partner with the Montfort Hospital and apply the same principles to musculoskeletal conditions so we can help those patients also get care faster.”

Tom Schonberg

President and CEO, Queensway Carleton Hospital

“It’s great news for people with muscle and bone disorders that the Rapid Access Clinics will now be established across the province, and expanded in the Champlain region. This program is an excellent example of the power of innovative thinking and committed partnerships in health care.”

Chantale LeClerc

Chief Executive Officer, Champlain LHIN

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