Patients First

On December 17, 2015, the ministry released Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario, a discussion paper that outlined proposed changes for the health system. The proposed structural changes would see Local Health Integration Networks assume responsibility for home and community care and system integration, and have greater involvement with primary care, and improved linkages with population health planning. 

The proposal highlighted the need to address structural issues in Ontario’s health care system to improve the accessibility, integration, and consistency of patient care.

To achieve these structural changes, a number of legislative changes would be required, aligned with four main categories:

  1. Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Governance and Mandate
  2. Primary Care
  3. Home and Community Care
  4. Public Health

On June 2, 2016, the government introduced Bill 210, containing the Patients First Act, 2016, to advance the plan to evolve locally integrated patient-centred health care delivery.  On September 8, 2016, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario accepted the Premier’s advice to prorogue the legislature. The Lieutenant Governor delivered a Speech from the Throne outlining the government’s plans for the new session on September 12, 2016

On October 6, 2016, Ontario re-introduced the Patients First Act in order to make changes that will enable the next stage of the Patients First Action Plan for Health Care, including quicker access to a doctor and improvements to home and community care.   Bill 41 was approved on December 7, 2016.

The Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care is Ontario’s plan to transform the health care system into one that puts the needs of patients at its centre.         

Ontario has made progress in all four Patients First priority areas: increasing access, connecting services, informing patients and protecting our health care system. But we can do more to put patients first. Better care for patients means we need to make some changes.

Ontario is designing a path to improve the patient experience and provide better access to care for Ontarians no matter where they live, including:

  • Improving communication and connections between primary health care, hospitals and home and community care for a smooth patient experience.
  • Making it easier for patients to find a family doctor or nurse practitioner when they need one, see that person quickly when they are sick, and find the care they need, closer to home.  
  • Making it easier for doctors, nurses and other primary care providers to connect their patients to the health care they need.
  • Ensuring there is local planning so health care providers are available to patients where and when they are needed.
  • Strengthening Indigenous involvement in the planning, design and delivery of health programs and services provided to Indigenous communities.

As this process evolves, the Board of the Central East LHIN is receiving updates at their monthly open Board meetings. 

To access these updates, please click on the links below:

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) is also sharing information on Health System Integration.  To access these bulletins, please click on the links below:

Please continue to watch this space for updates.