Ontario Connecting More People to Primary Care Teams in Simcoe North

The Ontario government is investing over $2.4 million to connect more people to primary care teams in Simcoe North. This is part of Ontario’s $110 million investment to connect up to 328,000 people to primary care teams, bringing the province one step closer to connecting everyone in Ontario to primary care.

The Couchiching Ontario Health Team will connect an estimated 19,200 unattached patients in Orillia and surrounding areas with their funding of over $2.3 million. The North Simcoe Ontario Health Team will connect an estimated 800 unattached patients in North Simcoe – Midland area, receiving $90,831.
“I am immensely proud to extend my sincere congratulations to the health care teams of both Couchiching and North Simcoe for securing this substantial funding, a testament to their unwavering commitment to community health,” said Jill Dunlop, MPP Simcoe North. “This significant investment will undoubtedly bolster efforts in providing timely access to care, improving the well-being of countless individuals within our communities. The dedication and passion of both teams serve as an inspiring example of collaborative excellence in healthcare delivery.”

Ontario currently leads the country with 90 per cent of people connected to a regular health care provider. As a next step to close the gap for people not connected to primary care in the community, the province is supporting new and expanded interprofessional primary care teams in Simcoe North.
Interprofessional primary care teams connect people to a range of health professionals that work together under one roof, including doctors, nurse practitioners, registered and practical nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and dietitians, among others. Timely access to primary care helps people stay healthier for longer with faster diagnosis and treatment, as well as more consistent support managing their day-to-day health while relieving pressures on emergency departments and walk-in clinics.

“The government is making record investments to ensure that everyone that wants to have a primary care provider can connect to one,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “While there is more work to do, giving hundreds of thousands of more Ontarians the opportunity to connect to primary care brings us that much closer to this goal.”

In addition to other historic investments to expand medical school spots and efforts to break
down barriers so highly-skilled internationally-trained doctors can care for people in Ontario,
Ministry of Health modelling shows that these initiatives will help connect up to 98 per cent of
people in Ontario to primary care in the next several years.
Since the launch of Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care one year ago, the
government has been making steady progress to ensure the health care system has become
better equipped to respond to the needs of patients and provide them with the right care in the
right place, faster access to services and access to an expanded health care workforce.

Quick Facts:
• As a next step to close the gap for the 1.3 million people not connected to primary care
in the province, the government is making a record investment of $90 million to add over
400 new primary care providers as part of 78 new and expanded interprofessional
primary care teams. The new and expanded teams will include Family Health Teams,
Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics, Community Health Centres and Indigenous Primary
Health Care Organizations.
• Ontario’s investment of $90 million dollars triples the original $30 million dollars
earmarked to expand interprofessional primary care teams and will deliver over four
times as many initiatives as outlined in our Your Health Plan almost a year ago.
• The new and expanded teams are the result of a province-wide call for proposals that
took place in 2023. All proposals were thoroughly reviewed by Ontario Health based on
criteria prioritizing areas of greatest need, to connect a greater number of people
currently without a regular primary care provider with these services closer to home.
• Ontario is the first province to have a publicly funded Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic
program. This is in addition to the new Practice Ready Ontario Program that will add 50
new physicians this year.
• Ontario leads the country in how many people benefit from a long-term, stable
relationship with a family doctor or primary care provider. Since 2018 the province has
added over 80,000 new nurses and 10,300 new physicians to the health care system.
• Ontario invests over $1 billion in interprofessional primary care teams annually.

“On behalf of the Couchiching Family Health Team, we are thankful for this investment in
primary care funding which will allow us to improve access and address the stress and
pressures put on our local hospital. Our foundation of strong relationships with our health care
providers and community partners positions us for success. Today we are pleased our
government listened to our call for urgent action and I am thankful to all the primary care
providers, clinicians and administrative staff who show up every day to keep us connected and
healthy. Special thanks to our Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones, our MPP Jill Dunlop and the
entire Central Ontario Health Team. We are stronger together”.

  • Lynne Davies, CEO Couchiching Family Health Team
    “We are thrilled to be included in this healthcare investment for our community. This funding will
    enable North Simcoe to improve access to crisis services by hiring one additional mental health
    worker. This investment not only strengthens our capacity to support individuals and families
    struggling with mental health challenges but also underscores the government’s commitment to
    prioritizing mental wellness within our communities.”
  • Andrew Shantz, North Simcoe Family Health Team Executive Director
    “The Couchiching Ontario Health Team partners all, -our hospital, family health team, family doctors, nurse practitioners, paramedics – all of us – everyone has worked extremely hard to try to address an access to primary care crisis, with 22 000 people not having a primary care provider or primary care team in this region. Couchiching OHT partners have prioritized population health needs in every effort, stretching resources, being creative, ensuring against the odds that the COHT Care Clinic stayed open at the two sites, including the Lighthouse Shelter, to meet primary care needs for some of our most vulnerable residents. This announcement of funds from OH and MOH to support this important work, the expansion of primary care services in Couchiching, is such welcome news and we are so very grateful. We will continue to integrate services and collaborate and improve population heath and primary care access in the Couchiching region that we proudly call home.”
  • Dr. Kimberley McIntosh, Couchiching OHT Physician Lead/Primary Care Network Chair
    “Today’s monumental investment into primary care services will pay significant and lasting dividends in the form of increased connectivity and greater access to health care for residents throughout the region. Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital continues to work closely in partnership with the Couchiching OHT and looks forward to supporting their ongoing advancement as part of the initial group of OHTs selected to lead the acceleration of Ontario Health Teams across the province.”
  • Carmine Stumpo, OSMH President and CEO
    “Providing improved access to primary care services is a priority for our Council and community. This significant investment by the Province for the Couchiching Ontario Health Team will help bring greater access to primary care services for Orillia and area residents. By bolstering health care service access and networks, we are not only enhancing the wellbeing of our citizens, but also alleviating strain on our hospital and emergency department while we work towards a modernized acute care hospital. I would like to thank the Province of Ontario for its commitment to the health and prosperity of our community and the Couchiching Ontario Health Team for their continued innovation and dedication to enhancing health care for our residents.” – Mayor Don McIsaac, City of Orillia
    “As a community, we are extremely grateful for this substantial investment for the North Simcoe Family Health team by the province. Today’s announcement underscores our unified commitment to providing the best care to our community and strengthens our partnerships in healthcare, ensuring that together, we can continue to deliver excellence in healthcare for all.” – Mayor Bill Gordon, Town of Midland

Additional Resources;

• Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care
•Ontario Connecting Over 300,000 People to Primary Care Teams
•Your Health, Your Results