Twenty-two health agencies are partnering in the new Ontario Health Team announced for Peterborough on Monday morning.

Health Minister and deputy premier Christine Elliott made the announcement at a press conference at the Peterborough Paramedics headquarters on Armour Road. As with Ontario Health Teams unveiled last week, Elliott called it an “exciting time” for health care in Ontario to help break down long-standing barriers to accessing direct care. The province’s goal is to create 24 Ontario Health Teams across the province.

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“Together with our health care partners, the Peterborough Ontario Health Team will play an essential role in delivering on our commitment to end hallway health care and building a connected and sustainable public health care system centred around the needs of patients,” she said.

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Brenda Weir, vice-president with Peterborough Regional Health Centre and lead for the Peterborough Ontario Health Team, says the 22 partners have been collaborating for many years — both formally and informally — to provide care for patients.

“Together we have the capacity, knowledge, and leadership to improve health outcomes in Peterborough and the surrounding region, and as an OHT, we are committed to building on these partnerships to ensure the patients we serve are able to navigate through the health care system in a seamless and coordinated way,” she stated.

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In February, the province introduced the People’s Health Care Act, outlining changes to Ontario’s health-care system, including the development of OHTs that the province said would integrate care to “deliver high-quality, patient-focused care and better coordinated care.”

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Weir says the health team’s focus in the first year will be to find the right health care solutions for patients by improving the transition of care between agencies.

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“With our new Peterborough Ontario Health Team, patients will benefit from better integrated health care, with a seamless experience when moving between different health care services, providers and settings,” said Elliott.

“I would like to thank all the health care providers and organizations that helped plan the Peterborough Ontario Health Team; there is lots of work to be done, but with their dedication and hard work, we will continue to improve health care in our communities and ensure Ontarians get the care they deserve.”

The Peterborough Ontario Health Team will begin implementing some of their proposed programs and services in 2020 and will communicate with patients and families about the changes and improvements they can expect in their community.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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