Consistently apply a Health equity lens to enable access to quality care.
Health equity is a core value in Ontario’s health care system as it is recognized that people belonging to certain groups may experience disparities in their health status, access to service and the quality of care they receive. When access and quality barriers exist for some populations, health disparities are sustained, or even widened, resulting in poor health outcomes and increased future cost burden. Every person, no matter who they are, where they live or how much money they make, deserves equitable access to health.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care continues to emphasize health equity as a foundational requirement for health system change. The Excellent Care for All Act, recognizes that “a high quality health care system is one that is accessible, appropriate, effective, efficient, equitable, integrated, patient centred, population health focussed, and safe” and the French Language Services Act requires French-language services that are available, accessible and of equivalent quality to services offered in English. Applying a health equity lens to existing and emerging health services ensures that we are working to achieve a health care system that all residents can count on regardless of their individual circumstances or where they live. Factors such as gender, race, sexual orientation, immigration status, income and education must be explicitly considered to address systemic barriers and challenges for certain populations.
PLAN OF ACTION
- Continue to engage with key stakeholders and health service providers in developing an approach to equity and an implementation plan that outlines foundational equity expectations such as:
- deploying tools, training requirements, staff expertise, prominence of equity considerations in organizational strategic and operational plans, development and monitoring of equity indicators and targets as part of quality improvement, collection of socio-demographic data/community profiles to advance equity, advancement of targeted equity initiatives, services and/or policies, and identification of best practices and resources.
- Work alongside health service providers to develop culturally competent Boards and organizations through Continuous Cultural Competency training (including ongoing Indigenous/Aboriginal cultural and linguistic competency training and Francophone cultural competency training) and board/staff development focused on increasing awareness about key equity issues.
- Apply an equity lens to decision-making by developing guidelines to increase the application of the Health Equity Impact Assessment tool, including when developing and assessing health programs and services and for all major financial decisions and integrations at the LHIN.