Northumberland County health care providers have formed an Ontario Health Team, the province announced on Friday.
In the Town of Colborne at the emergency services base, Christine Elliott, Ontario health minister and deputy premier, announced the new Northumberland Ontario Health Team (OHT) – one of 24 the province aims to implement. Earlier in the day, Elliott announced similar OHTs in Parry Sound-Muskoka and Ottawa. The teams replace the existing Local Health Integrated Network systems.
“This is an exciting time for health care in Ontario as we finally break down the long-standing barriers that have prevented care providers from working directly with each other to support patients throughout their health care journey,” stated Elliott in a release.
“Together with our health care partners, the Northumberland Ontario Health Team will play an essential role in delivering on our commitment to end hallway health care and building a connected and sustainable public health care system centred around the needs of patients.”
The Northumberland OHT includes both county hospitals, Cobourg’s Northumberland Hills Hospital and Campbellford Memorial Hospital, along with primary care providers, community health centres, family health teams and other services in all county communities and Alderville First Nation.
Projects will be phased in over time and during its first year, the focus will include those who experience significant barriers to care in rural areas. Specific projects include volunteer peer support, community paramedicine, rural outreach clinics and digital health.
Linda Davis, Northumberland Hills Hospital CEO and spokesperson for the collaborative planning table of the Northumberland OHT, says local teams were granted the opportunity to co-design solutions that work best for the communities.
“We are very pleased to be among the first wave of Ontario Health Teams,” said Davis. “Northumberland has learned first-hand that the most creative and most sustainable thinking evolves when those directly affected are part of the decision-making process.
“As Minister Elliott stated, there is much work to do, and we are just at the beginning.
“The enthusiasm, creativity and energy at our planning table is unlike anything we have seen before and we are committed to seeing the Ontario Health Team vision become a reality for our region, with the patients and caregivers we serve, and the providers who deliver care.”
The Northumberland Ontario Health Team will begin implementing some of their proposed programs and services next year.
David Piccini, MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, congratulated the team on their “tremendous success” for being one of the first Ontario Health Teams to be implemented in the province.
“This monumental achievement is a testament to the hard work of all of the individuals and organizations and to the strength of their existing collaborative partnerships,” he said. “Ontario Health Teams are one of the most important health care initiatives in the transformation of health care and will ensure the our local patients receive the right care, in the right place and that patients, families and caregivers can move seamlessly between health care providers and services.”