Letter to the Premier of Ontario and the Ministers of Health and Long-Term Care

Dear Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, and Minister Fullerton,

Since the release of our first report, Hallway Health Care: A System Under Strain, significant initiatives have been announced that will help build a modern, sustainable and integrated health care system.

This is a new vision for health care in the province.  

As a Council, we support this vision and are encouraged by your commitment and progress to date. Many Ontarians have questions about what modernization will mean for the future of health care. At engagement sessions across the province we learned that there is enthusiasm among patients, caregivers and health care providers for this new vision, and there is hope for meaningful change.

The structural changes made by your government will go a long way towards ensuring the sustainability of our publicly funded health care system. The new Ontario Health agency will manage the system more efficiently, and Ontario Health Teams will ensure services are delivered in communities in a way that puts the patient at the centre of health care service delivery.

While these actions are a good start, there remains much more to do to support patients, relieve immediate capacity pressures, and build a health care system ready for future challenges and opportunities. In every community we visited, there was one clear message: the health care system can do better to meet the real day-to-day needs of patients, families and caregivers.

Ending hallway health care also requires a long-term plan. Health care is an ever-evolving sector, and while progress is made on the issues of today, we should also build a resilient system ready for the challenges of tomorrow. The recommendations in this report provide our best advice on how to plan for and protect the sustainability of our publicly-funded health care services.

As a Council, we are pleased to provide you advice with ten strategic policy recommendations that are aimed to end hallway health care and build a new health care system in Ontario. In this new system, care should be organized around each patient, health providers must work collaboratively, and services should be more readily available and accessible within our communities. These are the changes that matter to Ontarians, and this is what the health care system of the future should look like.

Dr. Rueben Devlin, Chair
Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine