Released this morning, the September 2016 Mandate Letter to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care outlines the upcoming priorities of the Ministry. At the midway point of their mandate, the government highlights in the letter the areas where they have made progress and the areas of focus going forward.
Many of the speciﬁc priorities are aimed at better care for seniors including improving home care, reducing the rates of Alternative Level of Care, improving safety and quality of life for those living in long-term care, ensuring services for seniors are culturally and ethnically appropriate, and developing a dementia strategy.
Access to care is highlighted as a focus, particularly improving availability of same-day, next-day, after-hours and weekend care, creating a public performance report on these services, bringing down wait times, and increasing coordination of care.
The cabinet shuﬄe in June created the position of Minister Responsible for Digital Government, and digital initiatives are highlighted in the letter. These plans include improved access for patients to information and health care services, a website to help patients navigate the health care system, and a goal of making Ontario a leader in digital health care.
The letter also brings up some high-proﬁle and timely issues including additional plans to reduce misuse of prescription opioids, integration of mental health and addiction services, and implementation of the advice received from the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council.
In many areas, the letter refers to ensuring that patients, caregivers, health service providers, and stakeholders are partners and are actively consulted on the transformation of the health care system, including through the Patient Ombudsman and the Patient and Family Advisory Council.
Finally, while this letter occasionally refers to new investment, it closes by highlighting responsible ﬁscal management and plans for a balanced budget along with advancing the economic plan.