Patients First Act

Ontario's Patients First: action Plan for Health Care

Patients First, A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario

Ontario's Patients First Act

On May 31, 2017, in support of Ontario's Patients First Act, home and community care services and staff of the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) transferred to the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). This was a structural system change that will help Ontario's Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care move forward. 


Ontario's Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care 

Released in February 2015, Ontario's Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care is the next phase in a  plan to change and improve Ontario's health system, building on progress made since the original Action Plan for Health Care (2012). It exemplifies the commitment to put people and patients at the centre of the system by focusing on putting patients' needs first.

The 2012 Action Plan promised to help build a health care system that was patient-centered. Patients First is the blueprint. It builds on that commitment and sets the framework for the next phase of health care system transformation. This plan is designed to deliver on one clear health promise – to put people and patients first by improving their health care experience and their health outcomes.


Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario 

In December 2015, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) released the discussion paper Patients First: A proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario. It outlines ways to: 

  • Make it easier for patients to find a primary health care provider when they need one, see that person quickly when they are sick, and find the care they need, closer to home.   
  • Improve communication and connections between primary health care providers, hospitals and home and community care. 
  • Ensure the province has the right number of doctors, nurses, and other health care providers, and plan locally to make sure they are available to patients where and when they are needed. 

Ontarians were invited to provide feedback in a variety of ways including in-person meetings, email, web surveys and webinars. Feedback, including feedback from Central West LHIN residents, was received from: 

  • 6,000 Ontarians engaged in face-to-face meetings
  • 6 ministry-led roundtables held across the province
  • 247 LHIN-led consultations and public town hall meetings
  • 15 consultations led by health stakeholders with ministry participation
  • 187 formal submissions received
  • 1,160 emails 

Patients First: Reporting Back on the Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario is a summary of what the ministry heard, and it will inform the next steps in giving patients better access to care no matter where they live.



Ontario's Patients First Act 

In December 2016, Ontario passed new legislation that will help patients and their families obtain better access to a more local and integrated health care system, improving the patient experience and delivering higher-quality care.

The Patients First Act will help ensure patients are at the centre of the health care system. Once fully implemented, changes supported by the new legislation will:

  • Improve access to primary care for people in Ontario, including a single number to call when they need health information or advice on where to find a new family doctor or nurse practitioner
  • Improve local connections between primary care providers, inter-professional health care teams, hospitals, public health and home and community care to ensure a smoother patient experience and transitions
  • Streamline and reduce administration of the health care system and direct savings into patient care
  • Enhance accountability to better ensure people in Ontario have access to care when they need it
  • Formally connect Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and local boards of health to leverage their community expertise and ensure local public health units are involved in community health planning
  • Strengthen the voices of patients and families in their own health care planning
  • Increase the focus on cultural sensitivity and the delivery of health care services to Indigenous peoples and French speaking people in Ontario

Ontario will continue working with French language health leaders, First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous partners and health providers to ensure their voices are heard, in particular with respect to equitable access to services that meet their unique needs. The province will also continue to work with health care partners across the system, as well as patients, families and caregivers to ensure that patients have reliable, efficient access to the health care services they depend on every day.

The Patients First Act is an important step forward in the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.