May 21, 2024

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Ontario is spending $6.4 million to expand coverage of primary health care teams to 22,000 people in the London area and beyond, including Chatham-Kent and Lambton County.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones said the initiative is part of a $110-million effort to connect as many as 328,000 people to -care teams. The province announced 78 new multidisciplinary teams in February.

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“Multidisciplinary teams are teams of health-care practitioners who work together to serve a patient,” Jones said. “It could be a nurse practitioner, it could be a family physician, it could be a dietician, or a mental health worker.”

“We’re able to expand that today.”

About 90 per cent of Ontarians are connected to a regular primary health-care provider, Jones said. The new money is designed to “close the gap” for those who aren’t, she said.

Sarah Davis, an official at the Southwestern Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre on Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, where the announcement was made, said the new funding will let the centre expand its services there and at a satellite site in Newbury, including its traditional healing program.

“It allow us to serve more individuals,” she said.

The new initiatives include:

  • Mobile services for an Indigenous primary health-care organization supporting First Nations, Inuit and Metis community members in Middlesex County
  • Mobile bus to connect Indigenous people in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex with Indigenous-led, culturally relevant primary care services in person and virtually
  • A London and area family health team that will expand services through an additional community hub
  • An expanded Elgin County family health team that will partner with another team and community health centre to connect more people to team-based primary care
  • A rural site and expanded urban clinic capacity in Lambton County, aimed at connecting isolated seniors, disadvantaged and vulnerable people, newcomers and refugees to primary care
  • Mobile primary care services in Chatham-Kent, including clinics for respiratory and diabetes management, cancer screening and traditional healers to help provide culturally appropriate care
  • Expanded primary care service in Tillsonburg to connect vulnerable and medically complex patients with comprehensive, convenient and connected primary care closer to home

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