April 15, 2020
An open letter regarding PPE in Primary Care during COVID-19 was released today from the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario (AFHTO), Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario (NPAO) and the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP). On behalf of our members - who are caring for patients in communities across Ontario in the midst of COVID-19 - we are seeking urgent assistance from Ontario's Ministry of Health in ensuring access to appropriate PPE in order to safeguard patient access to primary care.
Ontarians should not feel reluctant to visit their clinicians who can take the precautions necessary for that visit, and our members are working tirelessly to keep primary care open and operating - despite PPE shortages.
However, we are quickly reaching a breaking point in primary care. Without the needed PPE to keep everyone in our medical offices and clinics safe, some will be forced to close their doors to in-person care. This may prompt some patients to go to the ER for in-person care, or worse, not seek care at all.
We are recommending that the Ontario Ministry of Health immediately streamline the procurement of PPE through one central source for distribution to primary care through Ontario Health/regions and not leave primary care clinics to have to find PPE on their own.