Ontario is expanding Rapid Access Clinics across the province to help people with hip, knee and lower back pain access the right treatment faster, following a successful pilot program.
John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was at Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa today to make the announcement.
The new clinics will help people with pain in their muscles or bones get the treatment and specialized care they need by reducing unnecessary medical procedures, including imaging and surgery. The clinics will also improve wait times through a coordinated intake and triage process, with patients better able to access the right education and treatment options faster, which could include referrals to proven alternatives to surgery and pain medication like physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment.
Patients will be referred by family physicians to Rapid Access Clinics, where they will be seen within four weeks and given an assessment. Clinical experts agree that innovations
like this lead to a more sustainable health care system, and are just one way that Ontario is leading as a champion of publicly-funded health care in Canada.
Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- Ontario is investing more than $37 million over the next three years, including $17 million in 2017-18, to expand Rapid Access Clinics so patients with musculoskeletal conditions can access the right care faster.
- This investment is part of a larger commitment of $245 million over three years in the 2017 Budget to reduce wait times and improve the referral process for treatment of back pain and other conditions.
- Rapid Access Clinics build on existing models, like the lower back pain pilot program, Interprofessional Spine Assessment and Education Clinics (ISAEC), launched in November 2012. This program has helped over 6,500 people and maintains satisfaction rates of 99 per cent among patients, and 97 per cent for primary care providers.
- One in three adults are affected by musculoskeletal disorders, which impact the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and connective tissues, and make it difficult to perform daily activities.
- Family physicians can refer patients to a Rapid Access Clinic to receive an assessment, education and treatment recommendations within four weeks by a physiotherapist or chiropractor.
December 18, 2017, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care