Ontario Connecting Over 23,000 People to Primary Care Teams in London Area, Lambton, and Chatham-Kent

Press Release

April 18, 2024

Health

Table of Contents

  1. Content
  2. Quick Facts
  3. Quotes
  4. Additional Resources
  5. Related Topics

MUNCEY — The Ontario government is investing nearly $6.4 million to connect over 23,000 people to primary care teams in the London area, Lambton, and Chatham-Kent. This is part of Ontario’s $110 million investment 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 everyone who 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 thousands of more Ontarians in the region the opportunity to connect to primary care brings us that much closer to this goal.”

Ontario currently leads the country with nearly 90 per cent of people connected to a regular health care provider. As a next step to close the gap for those not connected to primary care in these areas, the province is supporting seven new and expanded interprofessional primary care initiatives that will connect over 23,000 Ontarians to primary care teams and provide services including:

  • New mobile services for an Indigenous Primary Health Care Organization that will support First Nations, Inuit and Metis community members in Middlesex County.
  • A new mobile bus to connect Indigenous people in rural and urban areas of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex with Indigenous led, culturally relevant primary care services in person and virtually.
  • A new Family Health Team for London and the surrounding area, that will expand services through additional Community Hub locations throughout the area. By meeting people where they are, and reducing other barriers, this program will help connect people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness with primary care providers that are trauma and violence informed.
  • An expanded Family Health Team in Elgin County that will partner with another Family Health Team and Community Health Centre to increase the number of people who can connect to team-based primary care services.
  • A new rural site along with expanded capacity at an urban clinic in Lambton County, focused on connecting isolated seniors, socioeconomically disadvantaged and vulnerable people, newcomers, and refugees to primary care.
  • New mobile primary care services in Chatham-Kent, including clinics for respiratory and diabetes management, cancer screening and traditional healers to help provide culturally appropriate care.
  • Primary care service expansion in Tillsonburg to connect vulnerable and medically complex community members to comprehensive, convenient and connected primary care closer to home.

Interprofessional primary care teams connect people to a range of health professionals who 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 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.

The record investment of $90 million will add over 400 new primary care providers and 78 new and expanded interprofessional primary care teams across the province. 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 these initiatives will help connect up to 98 per cent of people in Ontario to primary care in the next several years.

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 they can continue to provide high-quality care.

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.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s investment of $90 million triples the original $30 million earmarked to expand interprofessional primary care teams and will deliver over four times as many initiatives as outlined in the Your Health Plan.
  • As part of the 2024 Ontario Budget, through an additional $546 million over three years, the province is creating new and expanded primary care teams to connect approximately 600,000 people to team-based primary care.
  • Ontario is the first province to have a publicly funded Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic program and with the provincewide primary care team expansion, Ontario is adding six new and expanded Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics.
  • Since 2018, Ontario has added 12,500 new physicians and is continuing to grow the workforce by breaking down barriers for internationally educated physicians, including through the new Practice Ready Ontario Program that will add 50 new physicians this year.
  • The new and expanded teams are the result of a provincewide 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 12,500 new physicians to the health care system.

Quotes

“This investment by the province in the Thames Valley Family Health Team, under the leadership of Premier Ford and Minister Jones, will significantly grow our primary care capacity in Elgin County and St. Thomas. This is great news for our region and will serve nearly 1,200 residents in our community.”

– Rob Flack
MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London

“Our government continues to make important investments in the Sarnia-Lambton community. This new funding for our local health teams will help to support nearly 7,000 vulnerable, marginalized, and unattached patients in our community access primary care where and when they need it.”

– Bob Bailey
MPP for Sarnia- Lambton

“Today, we announce seven new and expanded interprofessional primary care initiatives that will positively impact the lives of over 23,000 Ontarians, fostering improved access to essential health services. These initiatives underscore our commitment to enhancing healthcare accessibility and promoting holistic well-being across Ontario, ensuring that individuals receive the care they need, where they need it most.”

– Trevor Jones
MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington

“This investment by the province in the Oxford County Community Health Centre (OCCHC) will significantly grow our primary care capacity in Oxford and serve hundreds of residents in our community.”

– Ernie Hardeman
MPP for Oxford

Additional Resources

Related Topics

Government

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Health and Wellness

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Media Contacts

Hannah Jensen
Minister Jones’ Office
Hannah.R.Jensen@ontario.ca

Anna Miller
Communications Branch
media.moh@ontario.ca
416-314-6197

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