Chair's Message

As I write this month's Chair's Message, the Patient’s First Act (2016) is in the early stages of implementation. Within this act is the transfer of the Community Care Access Centre to the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and the LHIN assuming responsibility for primary care organization and oversight.

This is a great opportunity for better organization and integration of health care for all Ontarians.

Consistent with the Act is the recent mandate letter from the Minister of Health to the LHIN Boards, which outlines many areas of focus for the LHINs and specifically for Primary Care.

The following is noted:

  1. Most importantly, Primary Care is identified as the foundation of the health care system in Ontario. (This is Key! Family doctors have to be engaged and part of the solution.)
  2. Within Sub-LHIN regions we will need to assess the health care needs of our local populations and adjust to those needs.(I interpret this to mean meeting the needs of marginalized populations.)
  3. We will need to continue to focus on improving access to Primary Care services. (Family doctors must be available, using advanced scheduling practices, and meeting our after-hours obligations.)
  4. We will need improved transitions between primary care and other parts of the system. (Better integration of electronic systems would help here, more effective referrals, better transfer of information)
  5. We will need better access to inter-professional healthcare providers. (I interpret this to mean providing more services to non-FHT patients – hard to see how this will happen without more resources.)
  6. We will need care coordinators and navigators embedded within primary care, and incorporating Health Links within our planning. ( It makes sense that care coordination starts and stays in primary care.)


There is much more to consider in the mandate letter.

As always, I welcome your feedback by email: