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LETTER: Province shaking up health-care status quo: MPP

The new plan will ‘provide Ontarians with a better, more convenient health-care experience closer to home,’ says Jill Dunlop

OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following is an open letter to the community from Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop.

When it comes to your health, the status quo isn’t working.

Ontarians deserve more than long wait times in emergency departments, delayed surgeries, and diagnostic procedures and care that are too far away.

For example, here at home, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital delayed over 900 non-urgent and scheduled surgeries in 2021-2022. Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) saw more than 3,700 local patients from Midland, Penetanguishene and the surrounding area travel elsewhere for procedures that could have been completed at GBGH.

Too many Ontarians, including members of our community, are waiting too long to get an appointment or surgery, having to travel too far to get care and spending too much time trying to navigate our health-care system. It’s time to change the status quo.

That’s why the government released Your Health: A Plan for Convenient and Connected Care — a plan to provide Ontarians with a better, more convenient health-care experience closer to home.

The three-pillar plan lays out a broad series of initiatives that will provide the right care in the right place, deliver faster access to care and hire more health-care workers.

The first pillar of the plan includes expanding the role of pharmacists so that people can connect to care closer to home at their local pharmacy, avoiding unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office; making it easier for youth to connect to mental health and substance use supports by creating more Youth Wellness Hubs; and expanding team-based care through Ontario Health Teams to better connect and coordinate people’s care within their own community.

The second pillar includes making it faster and easier to get publicly funded surgeries and procedures and reduce wait times by further leveraging the support of community surgical and diagnostic centers; providing paramedics with more flexibility to treat people who call 911 at home or on scenes in the community rather than in emergency rooms; and building almost 60,000 new and upgraded long-term care beds to help address wait lists for long-term care.

And the third pillar includes moving forward with the largest medical school education expansion in more than a decade by adding 160 undergraduate seats and 295 postgraduate positions over the next five years; expanding education and training opportunities for those interested in working in health care, including through the Learn and Stay; and introducing new “as of right” rules that will allow health-care workers registered in other provinces and territories to immediately start working and caring for people without first having to register with one of Ontario’s health regulatory colleges.

Together, these pillars will deliver connected and convenient care to you, closer to home, no matter where you live.

The government is improving the status quo to give you more ways to receive the high-quality care you deserve, ensuring fast, easy access to care at every stage of life.

We are putting you back in charge of your health.

Jill Dunlop
Simcoe North MPP