Strengthening Primary Care

In the Toronto Central LHIN’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan released earlier this year, transformation of primary and home and community care was identified as a strategic priority as part our overall goal of creating a healthier Toronto, and delivering a positive patient experience, through a sustainable health system. 

Transforming primary health and community care means creating conditions that empower patients to get the care they need with ease. In order to achieve this, the Toronto Central LHIN continues to invest in strategies that make “every door the right door”, simplifying access and driving a seamless experience for patients across transitions of care.

Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care is the foundation for this strategy to integrate and improve primary and home and community care in the Toronto Central LHIN.  In February 2015, Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins announced the government’s intention to move forward with system transformation to achieve a vision of integrated, coordinated patient-centred care across Ontario.

In November 2015, the government released a report by an expert which proposed system changes that would offer everyone in Ontario access to a primary care provider, an inter-professional team and care in the evenings and on the weekends, and make physicians responsible for patients in a geographic area.

On December 17, 2015 the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) took the next step in making that system a reality with the release of its Discussion Paper entitled Patients First: Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario. The paper focuses on four interconnected and overarching themes that will inform policy and program decisions moving forward:

  1. More effective integration of services and greater equity.
  2. Timely access to primary care, and seamless links between primary care and other services.
  3. More consistent and accessible home and community care.
  4. Stronger links between population and public health and other health services.

This proposal has many features, but its core is to provide LHINs with the mandate and tools to improve how Ontario’s primary care sector performs for patients and how it functions as part of the broader health care system.

The standardized elements of the approach include a common primary care performance measurement framework and an approach to performance improvement that focuses on sub-regions supported through a primary care lead. Local flexibility can be applied in several areas, including the implementation of specific initiatives that will improve performance against a common set of indicators, how sub-regions are identified, and approaches to defining primary care lead roles.

In late 2015, LHINs were asked to provide the Ministry with a proposed approach for delivering integrated primary care including:

(i) The identification of sub-regions that will be the focal point for primary care planning and performance improvement;

(ii) Description of planned approaches to improve performance against key performance measures, including attachment and timely access to primary care;

(iii) Approaches to clinical leadership to facilitate performance improvement, including the type of lead, their roles and how the LHIN would work with them to advance the goals of the strategy.

In October, the Toronto Central LHIN completed a Ministry template outlining an initial proposed approach to primary health care delivery.

The Toronto Central LHIN will lead consultations over the coming months with our providers, partners, residents, patients and caregivers to gain input and feedback on the government’s discussion paper to inform our approach to health service delivery in the Toronto Central LHIN.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Greg Stevens.

Links to Additional Information

Learn more and have your say about the Patients First proposal

Executive Summary of our Primary Care Submission to the Ministry