On 26 February John Yakabuski, MPP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, released a statement detailing the Ontario government’s proposed reforms to the healthcare system.
Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long Term Care, had announced the reforms earlier that day, stating:
The people of Ontario deserve a connected health care system that puts their needs first. At the same time the people of Ontario deserve peace of mind that this system is sustainable and accessible for all patients and their families, regardless of where you live, how much you make, or the kind of care you require.
Elliott said that the reforms would improve access to services and to patient experience by:
- Organizing health care providers to work as one coordinated team, focused on patients and specific local needs. Patients would experience easy transitions from one health care provider to another (for example, between hospitals and home care providers, with one patient story, one patient record and one care plan).
- Providing patients, families and caregivers help in navigating the public health care system, 24/7.
- Integrating multiple provincial agencies and specialized provincial programs into a single agency to provide a central point of accountability and oversight for the health care system. This would improve clinical guidance and support for providers and enable better quality care for patients.
- Improving access to secure digital tools, including online health records and virtual care options for patients – a 21st-century approach to health care.
Yakabuski’s statement pointed out that this renewed patient-centric approach is paired with historic developments in long term care for seniors, and improved mental health and addiction services for families. He noted that Ontario is investing $3.8 billion over ten years to establish a comprehensive and connected system for mental health and addictions treatment, and adding 15,000 new long term beds over five years and 30,000 beds over ten years.
Yakabuski went on to say,
Our government is taking a comprehensive, pragmatic approach to addressing the public health care system. By relentlessly focusing on patient experience, and on better connected care, we will reduce wait times and end hallway health care. Citizens of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke can be confident that there will be a sustainable health care system for them when and where they need it.
Additional facts included in the news release are:
- The government intends to introduce legislation that would, if passed, support the establishment of local Ontario Health Teams that connect health care providers and services around patients and families, and integrate multiple existing provincial agencies into a single health agency – Ontario Health.
- The entire process will be seamlessly phased in to ensure that Ontarians can continue to contact their health care providers as usual throughout the transition process.
- The government has consulted with patients, families, nurses, doctors and others who provide direct patient care, including the Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine and its working groups, the Minister’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, and health system and academic experts.
- Ontario currently has a large network of provincial and regional agencies, clinical oversight bodies and 1,800 health service provider organizations. This creates confusion for both patients and providers trying to navigate the health care system.
Berry, N. (2019, Feb.26) Ontario’s Government for the People to Break Down Barriers to Better Patient Care [News release]
Featured photo: Yakabuski meets the Madawaska Valley Family Health Team in January 2019