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Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, the Honourable Christine Elliott stands at a podium making an announcement
November 26, 2019

Hamilton Health Team chosen as one of first in Ontario to move forward with health team model

The Ontario government announced today that Hamilton will be one of the first communities in Ontario to move forward with establishing an Ontario Health Team.

The Honourable Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health made the announcement today at the David Braley Health Sciences Centre, before an audience that included patient advisors and other representatives of the Hamilton Health Team.

The Hamilton Health Team is a collaboration of Hamilton health and social service partners, including Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and includes representation from more than 20 organizations, reflecting primary care, home care, hospitals, community agencies, long-term care, mental health, Indigenous health, post-secondary education, and the City of Hamilton (Healthy and Safe Communities Department, Public Health and Paramedic Services), among others.

group shot of 20 plus members of the Hamilton Health Team group

“Hamilton health and social service providers have a long history of working together and this approval recognizes that strength in our community,” says Rob MacIsaac, president and CEO of HHS.

Patient involvement in the process

The Hamilton Health Team is co-chaired by two patient advocates, and was built on Hamilton’s rich history of working together to create a healthier community.

“This is a remarkable opportunity to redesign and rebuild health care, focused on improving access for patients and creating more opportunities for providers to work together,” says John Fleming, co-chair of the Hamilton Health Team. “I am incredibly proud of the patients and partners who have come together from across Hamilton to bring us to this point. We look forward to working with the Ministry and other Ontario Health Teams as we move forward.”

Building on existing initiatives

The Minister’s announcement will enable the Hamilton Health Team to proceed with planning its early initiatives. This work focuses on three priority populations in Hamilton, based on data demonstrating a need to better integrate care for an aging population and provide more accessible mental health services:
• Adults with mental health and addiction concerns
Children and youth with mental health and addiction concerns
• Older adults with multiple chronic conditions

“I’ve seen the impact we can have when we work with healthcare providers to make improvements”

The early work will expand on key initiatives already in progress in Hamilton related to early identification of people at risk of health issues, population areas with complex health and social needs, and coordinated patient transitions between healthcare providers. This includes expansion of 24/7 navigation and care coordination services for patients and families, implemented in phases over time. The work will benefit patients and healthcare providers and also help to address hallway healthcare.

“As a patient who has contributed to changes in health care, I’ve seen the impact we can have when we work with healthcare providers to make improvements,” says Bernice King, the other co-chair of the Hamilton Health Team. “Patients see the gaps and know the opportunities to create a more integrated and seamless care system. We are grateful for the leadership and insights patients have provided in our early work and look forward to continuing to build patient and caregiver partnerships in the Hamilton Health Team.”

Ongoing engagement

More than 200 leaders, community members, patients, and physicians took part in workshops to develop the application. Over 130 primary care physicians are already engaged, representing more than 200,000 patients. This works sets the foundation for increasing engagement and collaboration into the future.

The Hamilton Health Team will work closely with the Ministry of Health to determine how it will proceed with priority initiatives and how it will work with other Ontario Health Teams.

There are no immediate changes or impacts for patients or healthcare providers at this time.

For more information on the Hamilton Health Team, visit the City of Hamilton website.