On February 2, 2023 the Ontario government released Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care (the “Plan”). The Plan identifies a series of intended initiatives under three pillars: The Right Care in the Right Place, Fast Access to Care and Hiring More Health Care Workers.
The right care in the right place
This pillar focuses on connecting people to more convenient health care options in their communities, initiatives include:
- Expanding the role of pharmacists and increasing their scope of practice.
- Improving access to care at home by working with Ontario Health Teams and home and community care providers to establish new home and community care programs.
- Improving access to mental health and addictions services by adding eight additional Youth Wellness Hubs to the fourteen already operating in Ontario.
- Creating primary care networks and expanding access to team models of care for primary care physicians and nurse practitioners to improve access to care for patients.
Initiatives also include expanding team-based care through Ontario Health Teams, which builds on recent guidance from the Ministry of Health for accelerating Ontario Health Teams (see Ontario Health Teams: New guidelines released by Ministry of Health for more information).
Faster access to care
This pillar focuses on shortening wait times for key services across the province, initiatives include:
- Leveraging the support of community surgical and diagnostic centres.
- Diverting individuals from emergency rooms when safe to do so and providing them care and treatment in the community.
- Building new hospitals and adding more beds by investing $40 billion over the next 10 years to health infrastructure across the province.
- Expanding palliative care services in local communities.
- Expanding access to mental health and addiction treatment in communities.
Hiring more health care workers
This pillar focuses on increasing the number of health care professionals available to provide care and support, initiatives include:
- Expanding the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant, a program which covers certain educational costs for students enrolled in high-priority programs in some growing and underserved communities and commit to work in those communities upon graduation.
- Introducing as of right rules as the first province to allow health care workers registered in other provinces/territories to work in Ontario without first registering with an Ontario health regulatory college.
- Working with regulatory colleges to make it easier for international trained health care professionals to qualify to work in Ontario.
- Investing in educating and training health care workers including medical lab technologists and physician assistants.
- Expanding the scope of practice of registered nurses, registered practical nurses and nurse practitioners.
The Ontario government’s full plan to improve health care in the province can be accessed here. Miller Thomson’s Health Industry Group will continue to monitor developments related to the proposed initiatives and support local implementation.