The 2012 Action Plan promised to help build a health care system that was patient-centred. Patients First is the blueprint. It builds on that commitment and sets the framework for the next phase of health care system transformation. This plan is designed to deliver on one clear health promise – to put people and patients first by improving their health care experience and their health outcomes.
In December 2016 Ontario passed new legislation that will help patients and their families obtain better access to a more local and integrated health care system, improving the patient experience and delivering higher-quality care.
The Patients First Act will help ensure patients are at the centre of the health care system. Once fully implemented, changes supported by the new legislation will:
- Improve access to primary care for people in Ontario, including a single number to call when they need health information or advice on where to find a new family doctor or nurse practitioner.
- Improve local connections between primary care providers, inter-professional health care teams, hospitals, public health and home and community care to ensure a smoother patient experience and transitions.
- Streamline and reduce administration of the health care system and direct savings into patient care.
- Enhance accountability to better ensure people in Ontario have access to care when they need it.
- Formally connect Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and local boards of health to leverage their community expertise and ensure local public health units are involved in community health planning.
- Strengthen the voices of patients and families in their own health care planning.
- Increase the focus on cultural sensitivity and the delivery of health care services to Indigenous peoples and French speaking people in Ontario.
Ontario will continue working with French language health leaders, First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous partners and health providers to ensure their voices are heard, in particular with respect to equitable access to services that meet their unique needs. The province will also continue to work with health care partners across the system, as well as patients, families and caregivers to ensure that patients have reliable, efficient access to the health care services they depend on every day.
The Patients First Act is an important step forward in the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.
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In January 2017, the six sub-regions of the Central LHIN were approved and formalized by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. A sub-region is a smaller geographic planning region within the Central LHIN that will help planners, providers and partners to better understand and address patient needs at the local level.
Sub-region planning supports the LHIN’s goal to plan care through the eyes of the patient and provide a better patient experience that is closer to home. The concept of sub-regions is not new, and the Central LHIN has a strong and successful track record of developing targeted solutions that respond to local health care issues. What is new is that sub-regions have evolved into a more consistent, coordinated and formalized approach that will deliver an improved local patient experience.
By looking at care patterns through a smaller, more local lens, the Central LHIN will be able to better identify and respond to community needs and ensure that patients across the entire LHIN have access to the care they need, when and where they need it. This includes the needs of Francophone Ontarians, Indigenous communities, newcomers and other individuals and groups within the Central LHIN whose health care needs are unique and who often experience challenges accessing and navigating the health care system.
This planning approach will not restrict Ontarians as they make their health care decisions. Sub-regions are not an additional layer of bureaucracy - they will not be separate organizations or administrations, and will not have their own staff or boards. The Central LHIN's sub-regions were established based on existing care patterns in order to achieve a more local approach that will better serve Ontarians by ensuring that services reflect the unique needs of patients and communities.
In formalizing our sub-regions, the Central LHIN used the best available evidence – including patient referral patterns and insights gleaned from local engagement with patients, providers and community members – to ensure that the sub-regions align with local needs. Physicians, nurses and other clinicians as well as patients, caregivers and their families will play a role in planning, priority setting and implementing the improvement activities at the Central LHIN sub-region level to ensure the needs of patients and communities are being met.
Click here to download the Central LHIN Sub-region map