February 2016

In last month’s blog I talked about the Ministry’s discussion paper, Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario. Given the interest in this topic and the important role the LHIN is playing in collecting stakeholder input and opinions on the proposal, I thought I would once again use this space to give an update on our engagement plans, the activities we have completed so far, and what we have been hearing.

To recap, in December the government released a proposal document outlining significant changes to the structure of Ontario’s health care system that would expand the role played by LHINs. Under the proposal, LHINs would become accountable for planning, managing and improving the performance of all health services within their respective regions.

The LHINs were asked to take point on gathering feedback at the local level through a broad consultation process with stakeholders and to report findings back to the Ministry at the end of February. Here at the HNHB LHIN, we are employing a variety of engagement activities to give a voice to all who might be effected by the proposed changes whether they be health system users, providers or partners. 

To get input from those working within the health system, we added discussion around the proposal to the agendas of all existing and newly planned meetings with stakeholder groups. To date, nearly two dozen meetings with individual groups, including physicians, family health teams, public health agencies, community leaders, advisory committees and councils, health service providers and our Health Links partners, have been held with many more to come. 

Additionally, six in-person physician engagement sessions, one at the LHIN office in Grimsby and one in each of our five LHIN sub-regions of Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Brant and Burlington, were planned, two of which have since taken place (Brant and Hamilton).

Upcoming Physician Engagement Sessions

  • February 3 - 6:00-7:00 p.m. - Joseph Brant Hospital (Burlington)
  • February 11 - 6:00-7:00 p.m. - Brock University (Niagara)
  • February 16 - 5:30-6:30 p.m. - HNHB LHIN Office (Grimsby/Niagara West)
  • February 23 - 5:30-6:30 p.m. - Norfolk General Hospital (Haldimand-Norfolk)
As it relates to health system users, their family members and caregivers, the LHIN opted to use a series of webinars and online surveys to collect feedback from the largest number of people. The webinars, which will take place throughout the month of February, have been structured to both give an overview of the proposed changes and to generate a discussion where questions, concerns and comments are encouraged. These webinars are open to all members of the public and anyone interested may register to participate.

Upcoming Webinars

For those unable to participate in one of our webinars, or who prefer to provide more in-depth input, online feedback questionnaires are available. More than 40 questionnaire completions have already been received and we expect this number to grow exponentially as the webinars get underway.

In spite of the transformational nature of the changes that have been proposed, response from those we have spoken with has been largely positive. While it is still early in the process, some common themes have begun to emerge from our consultations with partners and members of the public including:
  • A general appreciation for being asked to take part in consultations
  • Acceptance that as a health system we need to be doing better and change is needed
  • Equal access to services across the region and the province is a high-priority
  • Interruptions to care cannot happen as part of any CCAC service transition
  • Money should be redirected from admin/management to front-line care
  • LHIN sub-regions cannot become another level of bureaucracy
  • Patients want increased access to primary care
  • A desire for increased coordination as it relates to patient care plans
  • Patients might feel more confident in home care if it were coordinated out of their doctor’s office
  • There is a need for increased information sharing between primary care, providers and community services
  • Greater access to inter-professional care is widely supported among patients and providers
If you have not yet taken the time to weigh in, I invite you to read through the discussion paper and to share your comments, questions and concerns during one of our upcoming webinar events or via our feedback questionnaires.

To read the full Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario discussion paper, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about webinar dates and times, or to complete a feedback questionnaire, CLICK HERE.

And just a reminder, if you or your organization would like to be featured in a future blog, LHINsight or share a patient story in one of our Voices in the Community videos you can reach us through our office, or if you’re on social media via our Twitter handle - @HNHB_LHINgage. Your feedback and questions are always welcome.