It was an important gathering of the Guelph healthcare community Monday morning as the creation of a Guelph and Area Ontario Health Team took another step forward.
As part of an overhaul of the province’s health care system, the Ontario government is creating Ontario Health Teams, a regionalized collaboration of various health and social service providers united to provide a more thorough, coordinated and streamlined access to local healthcare services.
“The average person wants to know ‘what does this mean for me?’” said Ross Kirkconnell, executive director of the Guelph Family Health Team, one of numerous organizations and agencies in the room Monday providing input.
“But look at all the people in this room,” he said. “We’re asking the question ‘how can we do it better?’”
The Guelph Police chief was among the gathering of 50 or so people. So was the lady who runs the North End Harvest Market. And the CEO of Guelph General Hospital.
The Guelph and Area Ontario Health Team consists of 14 core partners, ranging from Guelph General Hospital and The Elliot Guelph Community Health Centre and Stonehenge Therapeutic Community.
The deadline to the province for the application is Oct. 9 and if it meets the province’s criteria would be up and running by April 1.
The Guelph and Area Ontario Health Team will cover Guelph and Wellington County east to Erin and south to Puslinch. In total 165,000 people.
According to the Ontario government, the new health team will:
know people’s complete health history
be aware of health care services in the specific area
help people navigate the system 24/7
ensure referrals get to the right place
receive and share health records with individuals, such as test results
provide people with digital options, such as online access to health records and virtual care
“Basically, we’ve listened to what our patients, our families and our community is saying,” said Guelph General CEO Marianne Walker ad Monday’s event at The Elliott retirement home. “It’s really listening to the voice of our communication.”
Partners in the new health care team are equal, whether they have a $160 million budget like Guelph General or a $2 million budget like some of the smaller service providers, Walker said.
“We’re focused on ‘what do our our patients, our community, our families, our caregivers and our own staff require and how can we support them to achieve this integrated and improved quality and improved health of our community.”
Kerry Manthenga, clinical director at Stonehenge Therapeutic Centre, said it’s building on what Guelph already does “very well:” partnership and innovation in identifying and addressing healthcare problems in the community.
“This is just a bigger version of what we’ve been doing for a very long time,” said Manthenga.
It will also be evolving as it develops over time.
The 14 core partners that would make up the Guelph and Area Ontario Health Team would be: Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington, East Wellington Family Health Team, eHealth Centre for Excellence, Guelph Community Health Centre, Guelph Family Health Team, Guelph General Hospital, Hospice Wellington, Mango Tree Family Health Team, Sanguen Health Centre, St. Joseph’s Health System, Stonehenge Therapeutic Community, The Elliott Community, Traverse Independence, Waterloo Wellington LHIN Home and Community Care.