Last week the Ontario government released the 2017-2018 Budget and it included several references to physiotherapist and expansion of programs that promote access to physiotherapy. Investments involving physiotherapy include:
- increased funding to inter-professional primary care, community/home care,
- central intake assessment centres to decrease wait times for total hip and knee replacement surgeries,
- increased use of models such as Inter-professional Spine Assessment and Education Centres (ISAEC) to address musculoskeletal and chronic pain issues and reduce specialist and diagnostic imaging wait times.
Support for internationally educated bridging programs including the physiotherapy program at U of T is also mentioned in the budget. The budget also contained a commitment to expand and enhance scope of practice for health care professionals which is a positive sign as we continue to work with the government towards the full implementation of scope of practice changes for physiotherapy passed in Bill 179 in 2009.
“The Ontario Physiotherapy Association applauds the government for its commitment to enhanced access to physiotherapy through primary care teams, community-based clinics, home care and in long-term care homes. The OPA also welcomes the undertaking in the Budget to expand or enhance the scopes of practice for healthcare providers. The OPA will continue to work with the government and the Minister and Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to ensure Ontarians receive quality health care when and where they need it.” – Wendy Smith, President, OPA.