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Ontario announces new health-care plan

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Ontario has unveiled a new healthcare plan that officials say aims to reduce waiting times and localize access to healthcare across the province.

Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones announced details of the plan, “Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care,” at a press conference Thursday morning in Toronto.

The government also released a 50-page report that framed the state’s health care plans moving forward: good care in the right places, faster access to care, and hiring more health workers. It outlines three major pillars.

“When it comes to your health and the health of all Ontarians, the status quo is not working,” Jones said in a statement Thursday.

“By implementing our bold plan, we can connect you to care when you need it most, where it is most convenient, whether it is close to home in your community or at home. increase.”

The plan follows government policy. A new three-step approach Expand for-profit surgical and diagnostic centers.

Ontario doctors say investing in private health care will only exacerbate staffing shortages and wait times for emergency care.

Ontario’s NDP health commentator and MPP France Gelinas said on Thursday that residents “shouldn’t be fooled” by the Ford government’s new plans, arguing they were ready to privatize the health care sector. .

“The Ford administration has created a crisis in the healthcare system by underfunding it, capping workers’ wages, and pushing medical professionals out of the system,” Gelinas said in a statement.

“Giving private, for-profit clinics the freedom to provide medical services means that those who can afford to pay will get better and faster treatment, while others will have to wait longer. It means being forced.”

Gelinas adds that states should do instead. End Bill 124and implement an extensive staff recruitment and retention plan where they are paid fairly.

Pillar One

The first pillar, Right Care in the Right Place, focuses on localizing healthcare in Ontario.

To that end, the government said it was expanding its team-based approach to healthcare, mental health support and pharmacy-prescribed medications.

The government has added four Ontario Physicians to 54 existing teams to help patients transition between providers and to ensure that patients’ medical records are tracked wherever they seek care. He said he was working on adding health teams. This will add up to 1,200 doctors to the model over the next two years, the government said.

The plan outlines the addition of eight youth wellness hubs to the existing 14 hubs. It works to connect young people to mental health and substance use support, primary care and social services.

The government also reiterated expanding the list of 13 drugs pharmacists can currently prescribe.

Finally, the government said it would “ditch faxes” within the next five years by removing old-school machines from clinics and replacing them with “alternatives to digital communications.”

second pillar

The second pillar, “faster access to treatment,” aims to address long waiting times, the government said.

According to the plan, the government will do this by working on the backlog and reducing waiting times for surgeries and procedures.

This will be addressed first by tackling the existing backlog of cataract surgeries by issuing four new licenses to health centers in Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa.

The state said it is investing millions more in existing centers to address waiting times for MRIs and CT scans, eye surgery, minimally invasive gynecological surgery and plastic surgery.

By allowing treatment in the community rather than the emergency room, the government’s plan said it gave paramedics more flexibility in treating specific patients who called 911.

“Patients diverted from the emergency room by these initiatives received the care they needed up to 17 times faster than those who avoided the emergency room in the days following treatment,” page 50. report said.

For long-term care, Ontario is adding about 60,000 new and upgraded beds to help address waiting lists and ensure seniors get the care they need in the right places. Said it helps. This is on top of her more than 3,500 hospital beds that the state has built since 2018.

third pillar

The final pillar, Hire More Health Workers, will work to expand the state’s workforce through hiring, training, and education initiatives.

The state said it will expand its educational program by adding 10 undergraduate and 295 graduate students to the medical school over the next five years.

The state also said it would expand the “Learn and Stay” grant starting this spring, opening it up to about 2,500 eligible post-secondary students.

This grant enrolls students in “high priority programs” in underserved areas such as nursing, paramedics, and medical laboratory sciences in exchange for up to two years of work in the area after graduation. It covers people’s education expenses such as tuition and books. .

To lower the barriers to entry for opening a practice in Ontario, the government reiterated a new “As of Right” rule that eliminated the registration requirement for out-of-province health care workers. The report also outlines government efforts to make it “easier” and “faster” for international nurses to practice in the states.

The plan favors an ongoing new ambulatory benefits program that the government has referred to in the past as a way to grant health benefits to individual workers rather than employers. No additional details were provided on what these benefits entail or when they might roll out.

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