From The Globe and Mail
Ontario’s independent COVID-19 Science Advisory Table highlights the work of primary-care practitioners during the pandemic in its final report, and warns of challenges ahead as treating patients with the virus moves from intensive-care units to family doctors’ offices.
The report highlights long-standing challenges in Ontario that pose a threat, not just to the routine functioning of the health system but to future pandemic preparedness.
The province needs more primary-care practitioners to meet the growing needs of patients, says the report released on Monday. The province must also better integrate primary care into the health care system, it says, noting that there is little infrastructure in place that would allow policy-makers to share information with family doctors, trusted sources for their patients.
The report contains three related briefs: what Ontario family doctors did during the first two years of the pandemic; the factors that affected their capacity to deliver care; and the lessons policy-makers should heed to strengthen primary care as the pandemic evolves. Danielle Martin, a senior author on the report, provided expertise on primary care to the science table.
“People’s confidence in the vaccine often comes down to trust, and family doctors have these trusting relationships with people,” said Tara Kiran, another author of the new report and a family physician and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital, part of Unity Health Toronto.