Priority 2: System-responsiveness and access to care
ISSUE: How can we help alleviate pressure on emergency departments, while also connecting people to appropriate care?
Overcrowding in Emergency Departments arises from a number of factors, including limited community-care resources and a lack of integration between community-based and hospital resources. Currently, the healthcare system in Manitoba and across Canada is fragmented, resulting in many clients obtaining care in the wrong setting, and often too late. Evidence shows that having access to a CHC helps to alleviate pressure from non-emergent use of emergency rooms.
The interdisciplinary care model of CHCs ensures that clients are able to access the appropriate level of care when it is needed. This model also includes access to preventative clinical care as well as other points of support, such a health promotion programs and community health initiatives. These help to further ensure that clients are in a circle of support that facilitates early detection and triage rather than just at moments of episodic illness or crisis.
Pursuing the CHC model for more Manitobans would mean scaling up this proven model of comprehensive, interdisciplinary care and support. There are a number of ways that the provincial government and existing CHCs can partner to update our outdated primary health care “system”, such as:
- Supporting existing CHCs by expanding hours of operation and services available to leverage existing capacity.
- Working with existing CHCs to expand their reach and the number of Manitobans they serve via satellite locations, similar to what has been done in Ontario and other jurisdictions.
- Establishing new, strategically positioned and staffed CHCs, to support non-emergent clients, near existing hospital emergency departments.
This would immediately improve access to care for Manitobans, reduce pressures on other more costly health and social services, and catalyze local economic development.
Without the integrated approach of CHCs that place individuals and families at the centre of a circle of care and support, the province risks exposing greater gaps in health and social services. The programs and partnerships offered through CHCs help prevent individuals from falling through cracks once their immediate encounter with a clinical provider has ended.
Support robust funding for existing CHCs to extend hours, create or increase walk-in capacity, and establish new CHC satellite locations in high needs areas to divert non-emergent clients from the emergency room.
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