On February 10, AFHTO submitted our recommendations to the government for their 2022 budget. Our 2022 pre-budget submission was done in collaboration with our five partners in the Primary Care Collaborative.
With primary care at the foundation, our submission lays out what is needed to help build a province where people can access better care, more integrated care, and more accessible and continuous care.
Our recommendations are broken into four sections:
1. Address the HHR crisis and system capacity
Recruitment and retention of healthcare workers is a challenge that the pandemic is exacerbating. Issues like burnout, illness, and lack of acknowledgement and support, such as the enforcement of Bill 124, are impacting the HHR needed to get through and recover from the pandemic; to care for its long-term impact; and to continue to deliver preventative care and care for acute and chronic conditions. We provided four recommendations.
2. Integrate health care across Ontario
The pandemic shone a spotlight on the fragility of Ontario’s healthcare system. Ensuring integrated and continuity of care will be key; however, integration cannot occur unless there is capacity in the systems that need to integrate. We provided five recommendations.
3. Prioritize digital and data equity
The pandemic has exacerbated social isolation, highlighted barriers to accessing healthcare, and emphasized that digital equity is a driver of health equity. Primary care requires funding to support our leading work on digital and data equity – providing safe and trusted health and social services to people who face barriers getting online through broadband and digital devices. We provided four recommendations.
4. Create a culturally safe healthcare system that addresses health inequities
Many people have faced and continue to face discrimination and disadvantage, which leads to inequitable health outcomes. Primary care serves populations who face the most barriers: Indigenous Peoples, Francophones, Black populations, people with disabilities and mental health challenges, other racialized groups, recent immigrants and refugees, people who are 2SLGBTQ+, and people living in northern, rural, and remote areas. We provided nine recommendations.