Healing our wounded health care system

By MPP Toby Barrett

This winter, the Ontario government introduced Bill 74, The People’s Health Care Act. It sets a vision for patient-centred community health care through fostering the establishment of local Ontario Health Teams.

Our Ontario Health Teams will consist of local health care providers organized in a way that will enable them to work as a coordinated group. They would share responsibility for care plans, service provision and outcomes and most importantly, they would take the guesswork out of navigating our health care system.

Local health care providers, hospitals, home care providers and others would work as one connected team, no matter where they provide the care. For example, these teams would help seniors who want to age at home.

The People’s Health Care Act also establishes Ontario Health. Instead of multiple agencies providing different oversight and direction in the health care system, this single agency, Ontario Health, would oversee health care delivery, improve clinical guidance, and provide support for providers to ensure better quality care for those who need it.

Establishing a single, accountable Ontario Health agency would enable the expansion of the exceptional clinical guidance and quality improvement activities that currently exist in agencies such as Cancer Care Ontario into other critical areas of the health care sector.

We have to do more to ensure our publicly-funded system of health care is sustainable into the future, and that quality health care is there for us when we or our loved ones need it most.

Our government committed to the people of Ontario to end hallway health care and we are fully committed to delivering on that promise.

That is why we are building a public health care system centered on the patient and redirecting money to front-line services – where it belongs – to improve patient experience and provide better and connected care.

We envision a public health care system where patients and families will have access to faster, better and more connected services.

A system where family doctors, hospitals and home and community care providers work in unison as a team. Where within these teams, providers can communicate directly with each other creating a seamless care experience for the patient and their families.

A system where patients receive support when transitioning from one health care service to another. A system that truly puts the patient at the centre of care, where and when it is required.

Modernizing the health system will take time but we will continue to listen to people who plan and work on the front lines – including nurses, doctors and other care providers – as we implement our public health care strategy.

As we bring forward desperately needed and overdue improvements to health care in this province, people in Ontario will continue to access reliable public health care through OHIP, and our plan will improve the health system so that people have access to faster, better-coordinated public health care where needed and when needed.

We have a great opportunity to amplify the strength of what is working – to bringing a consistency of approach to our health care system, a common vision, a single point of oversight, a united effort so we can get from where we are to where we know we need to be.

Toby Barrett is the MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk