According to a recently released report by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), there is an uneven distribution of family physicians across the province that’s impacting Ontarians’ access to health care.
The report, Geographic Variation in the Supply and Distribution of Comprehensive Primary Care Physicians in Ontario, “uses specialized techniques to produce maps without traditional boundaries like Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) catchment areas and census subdivisions. Doctors and patients do not function within predetermined boundaries so this report provides important insight into the actual supply and distribution of family doctors,” says Dr. Michael Green, author of the report and senior adjunct scientist at ICES Queens.
Most family physician concentration occurs in the densely populated urban areas of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and elsewhere in south western and south eastern Ontario. However, some rural settings, such as the Muskoka region, have great access to family physicians, and some urban settings, including Hamilton, Cobourg, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, have lower access.
The report also highlights the distribution of different primary care models, including family health teams, compared to patient populations.