THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro states, “Today’s announcement cannot be overstated in its importance”. A new Family Health Team in Thunder Bay is expected to provide over 14,400 patients with greater access to family health services.
“Building on the previous success of our government, this Academic Family Health Team will provide more people access to primary care; will help recruit and retain young physicians by providing residency opportunities for graduating Northern Ontario School of Medicine students; and continues to build and expand the health service capacity in Thunder Bay. This is tremendous!” enthuses Mauro.
Family Health Teams are made up of a team of doctors and other healthcare providers such as nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers and dietitians all working together. They provide quality team-based care and will attach more patients in Thunder Bay to a family doctor. They also help reduce demand on hospital emergency departments by providing non-emergency care.
There are currently 170 Family Health Teams across the province providing care to over 2.3 million Ontarians and serving over 393,000 previously unattached patients.
The McGuinty Government states that “Health care is one our greatest economic advantages. This announcement is a key part of the government’s Open Ontario Plan to provide more access to health care services while improving quality and accountability for patients”.
Michael Gravelle, the Thunder Bay Superior North MPP and Minister for Northern Development Mines and Forestry states, “I am so pleased our government continues to put such strong focus on improving health care delivery in Northwestern Ontario. This new Family Health Team will allow patients currently without a family doctor to have better access to quality health care. I commend Drs. Porter and Kennedy, whose guidance and leadership have been key in making this new inter-professional health team a reality for the people of Northwestern Ontario.”
“Access to primary care for thousands of “orphan” patients in Northwestern Ontario has long been recognized as the single most important challenge in the provision of world-class health care in our region. This access will significantly improve with today’s announcement. It will support the recruitment of up to 25 new family practitioners, who, along with a group of ancillary health care professionals, will work collaboratively as a team to enhance patient care, safety, and outcomes. This initiative will also support the TBRHSC’s new focus on Patient and Family Centred Care. I would like to thank the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and our two local political leaders, MPPs Michael Gravelle and Bill Mauro, who have laboured tirelessly in support of this proposal,” adds Dr. Gordon A. Porter, MD, FRCS (C), Vice President, Medical and Academic Affairs Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
- The total number of family physicians in the District of Thunder Bay increased by over 13% between 2003 and 2009
- More than 900,000 Ontarians have been attached to a family health care provider since 2003
- It is expected that once all 200 teams are operational, they will provide access to primary care for more than 3 million Ontarians
- Ontarians without a family health care provider can register with Health Care Connect, a program that helps people find a family doctor or nurse practitioner in their community
- It is expected that the Superior and Baawating FHTs will be operational within one year