Kingston General Hospital Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Healthcare providers in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington have released a new five year plan that aims at tackling the gaps that exist in the local healthcare system. 

It’s part of a province wide effort to build Ontario Health Teams (OHT) that can look to build community oriented partnerships to pursue healthcare solutions that fit within the landscape of individual regions. 

The FLA OHT is one of 54 teams that blanket Ontario, and the area was one of the first to adopt the the Ministry of Health initiative in 2021. 

FLA OHT combines over 300 healthcare and wellness providers in the region, including large partners like Queen’s University, Providence Care and Kingston Community Health Centres.

The local health team’s Executive Lead, Kim Morrison, says this is really the first opportunity the province has given communities to build solutions from the ground up. 

She says it’s no secret that the state of the healthcare system is not enviable, but this could provide a community focused way to address the biggest problems. 

“We know health care is in trouble,” Morrison said.

“But we’re hopeful that together we can redesign the care systems, overcome many of the challenges and find the opportunities where we can work together to make things more connected and centered around people.”

The plan has highlighted four main focuses: improving access to primary care, improving access to mental health and addictions care, ensuring access to quality palliative care in places people prefer, and improving the ability for people to age at home with less reliance on emergency rooms or long-term care homes. 

Morrison says FLA OHT’s job is coordinating the care in the most efficient way across all of those sectors, and implementing technology to help both providers and patients more easily access the information they need. 

The five year plan incorporates both private and public healthcare institutions, with Morrison saying it looks to connect all services available to people in the region.

“It’s really about collaborating and finding ways of working together to make the best out of all the systems that people have access to,” Morrison said.

“How can they work collaboratively to really focus around the person at the center of that care.”

She says with so much negativity in the news around the state of healthcare, it’s exciting to be able to launch something that’s solely focused on finding solutions. 

The strategic plan has been put together collaboratively with providers as well as patients and their families, and it is meant to be adaptable. 

Morrison says the last few years have proven that flexibility is a necessity in any healthcare plan.

“If nothing, through COVID we’ve learned that the healthcare system can change in an instant,” Morrison said. 

“So it’s flexible and it’s really a living document to help guide us through what’s going to be challenging times.”

By Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 30, 2023 at 11:26

This item reprinted with permission from   YGK News   Kingston, Ontario
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