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Provincial government to invest $3.8 million in local primary care teams

HealthcareProvincial government to invest $3.8 million in local primary care teams

The Province of Ontario announced an annual investment of $3.8 million to connect residents with primary care teams on Thursday, February 15, 2024.

During the press conference at the Grand River Community Health Centre (GRCHC), Will Bouma, MPP for Brantford-Brant and Robin Martin, MPP for Eglington-Lawrence and parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health, announced that the Ontario government is making an investment to connect the people of Brantford, the County Brant and Six Nations of the Grand River, to primary care teams.

Martin noted that the Ontario government has been making record investments into healthcare and that Ontario is already leading the way with 90 per cent of citizens connected to primary health care providers.

While Ministry of Health modeling shows the number rising to 98 per cent in the coming years, Martin said they know more can be done.

“We know that there is more to do to close the gap for people in Ontario, not connected to primary care,” she said. “Today, I am pleased to announce that our government is continuing to build on our progress by investing an additional $3.8 million annually to provide greater access to primary care services for people in Branford so they can connect to care they need, when they need it, and right here in their own community.”

Robin Martin, MPP for Eglington-Lawrence and parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health, announces that the Ontario government is making a healthcare investment during a press conference on Thursday, February, 15, 2024.

The MPPs announced to doctors and staff that in Brantford, the GRCHC will receive $1,707,000.00 of the funds, while in Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Family Health Team will receive $1,850,000.00.

The funding will allow 9,450 unattached Brantford patients to be connected to a primary health team and will do the same for 3,415 patients from Ohsweken.

“These teams consisting of multiple health care providers, sometimes including family doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers, dietitians, and more, will help people currently without a family doctor, connect to primary care,” said Martin. “We’ve made a lot of progress over the past year, but as I said, we know there is still more work to do and we’re not going to stop until everyone in Ontario that wants a primary care provider, can connect to one.”

She said it will also help with the recruitment and retention of family doctors.

“This is how family doctors want to work, especially young family doctors, they want to work in teams and that’s what they tell us,” said Martin. “So, if we want those family doctors to stay in Ontario, and be happy to practice here, we want to give them the kind of environment that supports them to do their jobs better.”

Martin noted that when it comes to finding people to fill these medical roles, the Ontario government is creating new medical schools and has already increased the number of medical residency positions. She said that the government will also be making it easier for doctors licensed in other provinces to practice here, and have opened the door to internationally-trained doctors to qualify in Ontario more expeditiously.

Will Bouma, MPP for Brantford-Brant eludes to exciting healthcare news during a provincial press conference on Thursday, February, 15, 2024.

 Bouma added that other incoming initiatives will also help to relieve some of the stress to the overall healthcare system in the meantime.

“We’re working with the Ontario Medical Association to eliminate duplicative outdated forms, and upgrade processes so doctors can spend more time focusing on their patients instead of focusing on paperwork,” he said. “We’re allowing pharmacists to treat and prescribe medications for 19 common medical ailments and this program has been a huge success.”

While those in attendance were happy to receive the funding news, John Bell, Councillor for the County of Brant, was disappointed to hear that the County would not be receiving any specific funding.

“At PrimaCare Community Family Health Team in Paris, we have not had an increase in our budget for five years. We’re not able to actually pay our staff what they deserve and we’re actually losing staff,” he said. “Yes, it’s really good and positive for Brantford, but there’s nothing at all there for the County…I’m really, really disappointed.”

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