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Blog: Strengthening Home and Community Care

Access to health care resources is one of the most important issues for Ontarians and it is a priority our government shares.

Ensuring Ontarians have timely access to quality care – and that people have the right care, at the right time and at the right place are the values underpinning our health care reform work, aptly named “Patients First”.

We are making progress on all four Patients First priority areas: increasing access, connecting services, informing patients and protecting our health care system. But we know there is more work to do.

Starting with our investments in hospitals and hospital care.

Here in Burlington, the Joseph Brant hospital Redevelopment and Expansion project with its state of the art seven-story patient care tower is scheduled to open in August 2017. And our 2015 investments in emergency department wait times are paying off: Joseph Brant hospital now has among the best wait time performance indicators in Ontario. Process improvements mean that patients are getting the care and attention they need – and that emergency services are focused on the most acute patients while non-acute patients get the primary and community care they need.

Better care for patients means we need to make some legislative changes to ensure our health care systems are properly aligned to deliver care that is patient-focused.

Earlier this month, our government passed Bill 41, Patients First Act. This legislation will strengthen the voices of patients and families in their own health care planning; improve access to primary care; and strengthen communications and connections between the circle of health care providers treating patients - including those in the hospital and those in community care. All in the interest of improving the patient experience – and that of their family and caregivers too.

In addition, these legislative changes will ensure our local health networks (or LHINs) –and the local individuals who are making decisions about how to invest health care resources- better understand and address patient and community needs at the local level. As we reform the way health care is delivered our LHINs are working with health system leaders and clinicians, including family doctors, nurse practitioners, home care coordinators and home and community care service providers to ensure more seamless local health care service delivery.

As our work continues, over the coming weeks and months, I look forwarding to sharing more information with you about how we’re strengthening local decision making, and reducing administrative costs in the interests of putting Patients First.

—Eleanor McMahon, Burlington MPP

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