Primary Care Leaders Urge Canada’s Premiers and Federal Government to Strike a Deal That Focuses on Expanding Team-Based Primary Care Including Access to a Primary Care Provider

Press Release

TORONTO, Feb. 6, 2023 – The Primary Care Collaborative (PCC) is encouraging Premiers across the country, and the federal government, to strike a new Canada Health Transfer agreement that will focus on expanding team-based care and ensure that every Canadian has access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner within an interprofessional team.

At this critical time, political leaders across the country can make a real impact on Canada’s ongoing healthcare crisis. Research shows that high-performing healthcare systems are based on a strong foundation of comprehensive primary care. But millions of Canadians from coast to coast, including the Indigenous peoples and communities of Canada, are currently unable to access the care they deserve.

That is why the Premiers and Federal Government need to ensure that team-based models of care are at the centre of a renewed Canada Health Transfer Agreement. Doing so will ensure that we are building a cost-effective healthcare system where people can access better, more integrated, more accessible and continuous care.

In team-based models of care, patients can access primary care from a family physician or nurse practitioner, but the benefit to the patient and the system comes from the larger team, which also includes interprofessional healthcare providers, including nurses, social workers, dietitians, pharmacists and many others. These healthcare providers work as a team to meet patients’ health and social needs, including their mental health needs.

A special focus should be placed on Canada’s Indigenous communities, many of which do not have access to Indigenous Primary Health Care. Access to culturally appropriate and safe care is critical to ensure that Indigenous Peoples and communities are supported and able to thrive.

With primary care at the foundation, the Primary Care Collaborative’s 2023 Ontario Budget submission lays out what is needed to help build a healthcare system where people can access better care. With increased funding from the Canada Health Transfer Agreement, we are recommending that the Ontario government:

  • Makes team-based primary care available to more Ontarians through an investment of an additional $75 million per year for 10 years;
  • Addresses the health human resource (HHR) crisis in primary care through the creation of a primary care HHR table; and,
  • Invests in primary care for Indigenous Peoples.

About the Primary Care Collaborative (PCC):

We are a coalition of primary care organizations collectively representing 14,000 family doctors, 1,000+ primary care nurse practitioners, 286 primary care teams, 28 Indigenous primary care teams, including northern, rural, and remote teams. This alliance of comprehensive primary care organizations joined together for a common purpose to build on the collaborative work during the COVID-19 pandemic as we move towards recovery in a time of health system transformation. The PCC provides a collective and cohesive voice with the purpose of advancing equitable person-centred primary care in Ontario and is focused on influencing policy by creating a unified voice towards resolving barriers or challenges that prevent comprehensive primary care from being the foundation of the health system. Learn more about the PCC here.

For further information: Kavita Mehta, Chief Executive Officer, kavita.mehta@afhto.ca

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