The newly established Peterborough Community Health Centre will receive more than $3 million as part of over $110 million in funding for primary care teams announced by the Ontario government.
Ontario’s health minister Sylvia Jones made the funding announcement during a media conference at the Peterborough Family Health Team offices on Thursday (February 1), joined by Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith, Peterborough Family Health Team CEO Duff Sprague, Queen’s University Health Sciences dean Dr. Jane Philpott, Ontario Medical Association president Dr. Andrew Park, Ontario Hospital Association president and CEO Anthony Dale, and other health care representatives.
“It’s no secret that family medicine and primary care are in crisis — it is felt very deeply here in Peterborough,” Sprague said. “The Peterborough Ontario Health Team partners looked to address this crisis and put together a barriers to primary care working group, which I had the honour to chair.”
“Agencies from mental health, addictions, the nurse practitioner clinic, the city, the hospital, a family physician, and our family health team were tasked to bring back to the OHT steering committee a recommendation to address this crisis. In very short order, we put our individual organization needs aside and agreed that a community health centre for Peterborough was the number one priority.”
“The Peterborough OHT funded us to develop a comprehensive proposal (for a community health centre) which we submitted to the ministry (of health), with the very active support of our MPP Dave Smith. Our combined efforts make me hopeful that today is going to be a very good day for Peterborough.”
According to a media release, the province’s $3 million investment will allow the Peterborough Community Health Centre to connect up to 11,375 people to primary care. Programs and services will include comprehensive primary care, mental health services, and chronic disease management, as well as “culturally appropriate care provided by traditional wellness practitioners.” The centre will also serve as a hub for coordinating social services, home care, and working with health care and Indigenous partners in the community.
In response to a question, Sprague said the proposal that went forward to the Ontario government for the Peterborough Community Health Centre requested $8.6 million in funding, and the $3 million was for a “transition” period to acquire space for the centre and to bring on physicians and nurse practitioners.
“It will be a very staged approach,” Sprague added. “That’s really the only way it can be done.”
Minister Jones earlier confirmed that, although Thursday’s announcement was for $3 million, the entire request for funding for the Peterborough Community Health Centre would come from the $110 million investment.
Sprague also said a “small board” of directors for the Peterborough Community Health Centre has already been formed and they are “poised to take action.”
According to the release, the $110 million investment will connect up to 328,000 people across Ontario to primary care teams, including $90 million to add over 400 new primary care providers as part of 78 new and expanded interprofessional primary care teams.
“These teams — consisting of family doctors, nurse practitioners, registered and practical nurses, and more clinicians — will help people currently without a family doctor connect to primary care,” Minister Jones said.
The $110 million in funding also includes $20 million for all existing interprofessional primary care teams to help them meet increased operational costs for their facilities and supplies.
Thursday’s announcement also included more than $4 million in funding to help up to 10,000 people connect to team-based primary care at Kingston’s Periwinkle model site. The team will be part of the Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Ontario Health Team and will integrate with hospitals, and community agencies to provide care to perinatal patients, newborns, and people who have been discharged from hospital and require timely follow-up care, including cancer patients.