Strengthening Primary Care in the South West LHIN

As the South West LHIN continues to move forward with health system renewal plans as part of the Patients First Act, valued voices of experienced local primary care providers will help drive local innovation and collaboration by identifying, planning, and making recommendations via a South West Primary Care Alliance. A strong primary care sector is the cornerstone of a high performing, efficient and robust health care system.
Sub-region Primary Care Alliances (PCA) are groups created to provide primary care leadership in five areas. Sub-regions have been created across the LHIN as a focal point for integrated service planning and delivery of seamless, consistent, high-quality care. Five sub-regions have been identified in the South West LHIN: Grey Bruce, Huron Perth, London Middlesex, Oxford, and Elgin.
Each of the sub-regions invite all primary care providers to come together to identify, plan and make recommendations for local priorities.
Sub-region Primary Care Approach

For more information, including upcoming or previous meeting dates, visit the PCA website. 

Ensuring primary health care is strengthened and linked with the broader health care system

The South West LHIN is committed to an integrated health services approach inclusive of primary care. To address this need, Integrated Health Service Collaboratives were envisioned when developing the Health System Design Blueprint – Vision 2022. The Blueprint describes these collaboratives as serving the full population to educate, screen, assess, treat, and assist with navigation and support services.

Improving access to primary care is also a focus for the 2016-19 Integrated Health Services Plan (IHSP). To help inform our priorities the LHIN hosted a series of engagements consisting of local health care users, and leaders or governors of health service providers where valuable feedback was received on the future direction of local health care.

Patient Centred Care

Organized around a defined population, patient-centred care requires different parts of the health system to be coordinated to meet the needs and preferences of individuals and families. Through, inter-professional collaboration within primary health care and by facilitating access to the broader health care system, the South West LHIN and health service providers will ensure patients have access to the range of health services needed by individuals and families.

With the goal to improve access, accountability and performance, the LHIN will work with the Ministry to implement a multi-year collaborative reform strategy with primary care providers to better connect and integrate with other care providers. There is also a need for dedicated work to respond to the needs of currently underserviced Indigenous communities.

Provincial reports such as Bringing Care Home, Health Quality Ontario’s Advancing Integrated Care, Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, the Price Baker Report and reports from key organizations such as the Ontario College of Family Physicians and the Ontario Medical Association, all emphasize the foundational role primary health care plays in coordinating care for people accessing the health system. This aligns with the LHIN’s Blueprint which calls for local care coordination and inter-professional support – where an integrated system of care includes primary care as part of the team.

Together with the LHIN, system partners will:

  • Work with the Ministry to implement a multi-year collaborative reform strategy with primary care providers.
  • Work towards same/next day access to primary health care.
  • Build capacity for primary health care to meet the needs of all populations within the LHIN.
  • Build capacity to identify and support people with chronic conditions in primary care.
  • Provide primary care physicians and their patients with more timely access to specialist care.
  • Advance the South West LHIN primary care network structure.

Addressing Communities with High Physician Needs

When a doctor moves, or retires, an entire community’s health care can be affected. For these communities, it is more difficult for residents to access a family physician. To help determine areas experiencing high primary care need in our geography, the South West LHIN has developed a defined, transparent, predictable approach with consistent criteria to support decision making.

Details of criteria used to further understand and identify areas of high primary care physician need can be found in Family practice compensation models.

Through this analysis, the South West LHIN will be able to identify and prioritize a number of areas of high primary care physician need. Communities that scored as highest need and/or highest risk in a number of areas will be identified on our list of Communities of High Primary Care Physician Need

Communities targeted for improvements through the Ministry’s Areas of High Physician Need list will be those with an existing Family Health Network or Family Health Organization model. More information on areas of high physician need can be found on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website.

A separate LHIN-wide strategy will be developed to address high physician needs in communities not identified on this list.

The LHIN will strive to maintain awareness of potential high needs communities about whether or not there is active recruitment happening. In communities without active recruitment, we will work with Health Force Ontario to determine how best to support community efforts.

For more information on the South West LHIN’s Communities of High Primary Care Physician Need list, please contact Mia Segal, Health System Planner, South West LHIN, 519-640-2621 

To discuss your community physician needs, please contact Jane Tillmann, Health Force Ontario Regional Advisor: 519-200-4896.