$110 million investment brings the province one step closer to connecting everyone in Ontario to primary care
The Ontario government is investing $110 million to connect up to 328,000 people to primary care teams, bringing the province one step closer to connecting everyone in Ontario to primary care.
“Our government is making record investments to ensure that everyone that wants to have a primary care provider can connect to one,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “While there is more work to do, giving hundreds of thousands of more Ontarians the opportunity to connect to primary care brings us that much closer to this goal.”
Ontario currently leads the country with 90 per cent of people connected to a regular health care provider. As a next step to close the gap for the 1.3 million people not connected to primary care, the government is making a record investment of $90 million to add over 400 new primary care providers as part of 78 new and expanded interprofessional primary care teams. In addition to other historic investments to expand medical school spots and efforts to break down barriers so highly-skilled internationally-trained doctors can care for people in Ontario, Ministry of Health modelling shows that these initiatives will help connect up to 98 per cent of people in Ontario to primary care in the next several years.
Interprofessional primary care teams connect people to a range of health professionals that work together under one roof, including doctors, nurse practitioners, registered and practical nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and dietitians, among others. Timely access to primary care helps people stay healthier for longer with faster diagnosis and treatment, as well as more consistent support managing their day-to-day health while relieving pressures on emergency departments and walk-in clinics.
An additional $20 million will provide a boost to all existing interprofessional primary care teams to help them meet increased operational costs for their facilities and supplies so that they continue to provide high-quality care to the people they provide care to.
In Peterborough, more than $3 million in funding will allow the newly established Peterborough Community Health Centre to connect up to 11,375 people to primary care. Programs and services will include comprehensive primary care, mental health services, and chronic disease management. The inclusion of culturally appropriate care provided by traditional wellness practitioners will be an important part of the centre which will also serve as a hub for coordinating social services, home care and working with health care and Indigenous partners in the community.
Another example is in Kingston where more than $4 million in funding will help up to 10,000 people connect to team-based primary care at the Periwinkle model site. The team will be part of the Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Ontario Health Team (FLA-OHT) and will integrate with hospitals, and community agencies to provide care to perinatal patients, newborns, and people who have been discharged from hospital and require timely follow-up care, including cancer patients.
Since the launch of Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care one year ago, the government has been making steady progress to ensure the health care system has become better equipped to respond to the needs of patients and provide them with the right care in the right place, faster access to services and access to an expanded health care workforce.
- Today’s investment triples the original $30 million dollars earmarked to expand interprofessional primary care teams and will deliver over four times as many initiatives as outlined in our Your Health Plan almost a year ago.
- The new and expanded teams will include Family Health Teams, Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics, Community Health Centres and Indigenous Primary Health Care Organizations
- Ontario is the first province to have a publicly funded Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic program.
- This is in addition to the new Practice Ready Ontario Program that will add 50 new physicians this year.
- The new and expanded teams are the result of a province-wide call for proposals that took place in 2023. All proposals were thoroughly reviewed by Ontario Health based on criteria prioritizing areas of greatest need, to connect a greater number of people currently without a regular primary care provider with these services closer to home.
- Ontario leads the country in how many people benefit from a long-term, stable relationship with a family doctor or primary care provider. Since 2018 the province has added over 80,000 new nurses and 10,300 new physicians to the health care system.
- Ontario invests over $1 billion in interprofessional primary care teams annually.