Cutbacks and lack of investments mean it is now much harder to recruit and find family doctors, writes CEO Duff Sprague.
If you move to a new neighbourhood, most Ontarians expect to have local schools for their children. Why can this not be true for having a family doctor or nurse practitioner?
It is fair to say if every teacher worked alone, in a classroom scattered across cities and towns, you would not be able to move with the confidence that there would be local schools for your children.
Now imagine a school where teachers are brought together to work alongside other teachers, educational assistants, administrators and business managers.
You don’t have to imagine it, it exists.
Public investment and priority makes it possible for you to feel confident that your family will have access to local schools.
Almost 20 years ago, the Ministry of Health wanted to achieve similar results for primary healthcare. They believed that family physicians with a predictable compensation model, working alongside nurse practitioners, nurses, mental health workers, pharmacists, dietitians and others would increase access to care for millions of Ontarians.
They created family health teams, nurse practitioner led clinics and invested in new community health centres. These teams of healthcare providers, working together, delivered more and better patient care, increased local access and brought primary healthcare into the 21st century.
The target was to give all Ontarians access to primary care.