Ontario Connecting More People to Primary Care in Niagara

Beamsville – The Ontario government is investing $2,136,524 to connect more people to interprofessional primary care teams in Niagara through the Niagara Ontario Health Team – Équipe Santé Ontario Niagara. 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.

“This critical investment in our local Ontario Health Team will connect up to 7,600 more patients in Niagara to primary care,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

“The new funding will serve patients across the entire region with an emphasis on communities like Port Colborne, Ridgway, Fort Erie and Wainfleet.”

Ontario currently leads the country with ninety percent of people connected to a regular health care provider. As a next step to close the gap for people not connected to primary care, the province is supporting the expansion of interprofessional primary care teams in Niagara.

“Many partners of our local Ontario Health Team – including Family Health Teams and Community Health Centres – collaborated to develop this regional approach to expanding access to primary care,” said Sabrina Piluso, Director of Planning with the Niagara Ontario Health Team – Équipe Santé Ontario Niagara.

“Our local Ontario Health Team is committed to ensuring timely and equitable access to primary care, and this investment promises to do so for a broader number of people, particularly individuals with significant health and social needs. Our team is eager to develop those pathways to primary care for Niagara residents within their local communities.”

“Thank you to the Ontario government for their investment to increase access to comprehensive primary care in Niagara, and specifically in South Niagara,” said Lynn Guerriero, President and Chief Executive Officer of Niagara Health.

“These investments in primary care teams will ensure that the communities in South Niagara are provided with wrap-around services leading to better outcomes and faster access to care. Expanding comprehensive primary care will address some of the hospital’s existing capacity pressures by keeping our community well, and ensuring every resident has access to the right level of care. Niagara Health looks forward to continued collaboration with the our local Ontario Health Team and primary care partners to deliver high quality care to all Niagara residents.”

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.

“Our government is making record investments to ensure that everyone that wants to have a primary care provider can connect to one,” said Hon. 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.”

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 ninety-eight percent of people in Ontario to primary care in the next several years.

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.