Ottawa/Queens Park




This week in the Ontario legislature, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker voiced concern that more patients are going without access to a primary care provider in our region. "There are now 2,168 people without a doctor, up 65 per cent over last year", said Walker.
A spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care says while it is not possible to confirm the exact number of people without a family doctor, over 2,200 were registered with Health Care Connect and had not yet been referred to a family doctor.
The Ministry says the number of physicians in the area is increasing. "According to Ontario Physician Human Resources Data Centre (OPHRDC), Grey Bruce Counties had 149 family physicians in active practice in 2016, a 2.8% increase from 2015."
Kelly Gillis, Interim Co-CEO and VP of Strategy, System Design and Integration for Southwest Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), provided Owen Sound Hub with the following statement about the increase in Health Connect registrants.
"There are a number of possible reasons for this increase including:
o There is a decrease in the number of primary care providers working with the Health Care Connect program, therefore a decreased number of referrals (patients referred to participating physicians).
o There have been many physicians who have retired in the area and they have not been successful finding another physician to take over their practice.
o The retiring physicians have encouraged their orphaned patients to register with the Health Care Connect program.
o Many patients who have been offered a replacement for their retiring physician register with Health Care Connect as they hope to find a physician closer to their home.

How are we working to improve primary care access in Grey Bruce?
· We are working with Health Force Ontario and key local partners on targeted recruitment to ensure people are receiving the timely access they need.
· The South West LHIN has identified 11 of 16 communities within the Grey Bruce sub-region as Areas of High Primary Care Need to support strategic recruitment of additional physician resources.
· A Primary Care Clinical Lead has been recruited for each of the five LHIN sub-regions.
· In Grey Bruce, the Clinical Lead, Dr. Keith Dyke, is working directly with HCC and local physicians to decrease the number of HCC registrants.
· A total of 18 communities have active physician recruitment strategies which include:
o Paid recruiters and/or volunteer recruitment committees
o Financial incentives – Ontario government and local
o Training of family medicine residents on site to enable recruitment during training
· Since June 2017, 4 new family physicians have started in Grey Bruce
· There are currently 109 family physicians providing comprehensive care to residents of Grey Bruce.
· Residents also have access to primary care teams. A total of 68 per cent of physicians are affiliated with team based care in Grey Bruce."








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