As Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, it is my responsibility to ensure that we have a health care system that delivers the best possible care for all patients. This means putting the needs of patients first and foremost with each and every decision I make. It means providing patients with faster access to care today, and building a sustainable system that will be there for patients and their families in the future.
I believe our government and the province's doctors have the same objective: that Ontario remains the best province for physicians to practice in, as well as the best place for patients to receive care. We have seen that in the work we have done together on so many initiatives to improve patient care. Today, due to the hard work and commitment of our primary care providers, fully 94 per cent of Ontarians are attached to a family doctor or nurse practitioner. And by increasing the amount we spend on health care in this province, we are adding 700 new doctors and specialists this year alone.
Through 82 Health Links right across the province, we've worked together to put in place teams of primary care providers -- including family doctors - who coordinate services so that patients who need care the most have easier, faster and more coordinated access. Those patients include seniors who have multiple chronic conditions and who, without the support of our Health Links, may have trouble navigating the health care system.
The team-based model of primary care is one that is working well in communities across the province. Through our Family Health Teams, physicians and other health care team members have been leaders in transforming the way we deliver primary care so that it is more patient-centred, helping to meet the full spectrum of a patient's needs. Family Health Teams now serve more than 3 million patients in 200 communities.
I'm proud of the progress we've been able to make together with our primary care doctors. Family doctors have been excellent partners over the past decade as we have worked together to strengthen primary care and our health care system more broadly. They provide outstanding patient care, and they deserve to be well compensated for the central role they play in a patient's health care experience.
Even though we have achieved so much together, I know there is still significant work to do. The progress we've made together has been, in no small part, due to the leadership of our front-line health care providers. That's why we need the Ontario Medical Association -- the organization that represents doctors in this province -- to come back to the negotiating table, as a partner, and put its energy toward transforming the health care system with us. I strongly urge the OMA to return to the negotiating table so that we can reach a deal on physician compensation and go back to doing what we have done so well for the past decade: improving the health care system together, hand in hand, so that it provides faster access to high quality care today and tomorrow.
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