Improving Leadership Capacity in Primary and Community Care in Ontario

Ontario’s primary and community care sectors are increasingly being called upon to work as part of an integrated system, both in relation to each other and in relation to acute care, public health and other sectors, to achieve key health-system goals. Health Links, for example, are forging partnerships among providers and organizations to better meet the needs of high service users. Community-based specialty clinics will also need to forge partnerships among providers and organizations, in their case to successfully manage the transition of care from hospital to home and community.

On 30 January 2015, the McMaster Health Forum hosted a stakeholder dialogue to address the topic of "Improving Leadership Capacity in Primary and Community Care in Ontario." The stakeholder dialogue summary provides an overview of this discussion, which was informed by an evidence brief.

Stakeholder interviews

This evidence brief builds on the Forum's past work in two ways. First, it builds on the issue brief we prepared and the stakeholder dialogue we convened in June 2010 on the topic of ‘supporting quality improvement in primary healthcare in Ontario,’ as well as the ‘strategic directions for strengthening primary care in Ontario’ that were proposed by the Primary Healthcare Planning Group that was created as a direct result of the stakeholder dialogue.

Second, the evidence brief builds in a very direct way on the issue brief we prepared and the stakeholder dialogue we convened in February 2014 on the topic of ‘fostering leadership for health-system redesign in Canada,’ as well as the cross-national study of the role of leadership in health-system transformation that informed the brief and dialogue.

Most dialogue participants stated that, as next steps, they were willing to support three broad types of initiatives to improve leadership capacity in primary and community care in Ontario:

  1. continuing to push for a vision, structures, resources and supports for patient-centred primary and community care at the centre of the health system, so that existing and future leadership capacity is harnessed towards an agreed vision, able to function within appropriate structures, and enabled with appropriate resources and supports;
  2. supporting a provincial committee to develop a provincial strategy for health-system leadership development in the primary-care sector (and that the OPCC would be an appropriate body to take on this work); and
  3. supporting a similar but separate approach undertaken by the community-care sector, keeping in mind that these two sectors need to share a vision for patient-centred care, and therefore need to come together to share experiences and learn from each other whenever possible.

The evidence brief, and the stakeholder dialogue it was prepared to inform, were both funded by the Government of Ontario (through a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Health System Research Fund grant entitled Harnessing Evidence and Values for Health System Excellence). The McMaster Health Forum receives both financial and in-kind support from McMaster University. The views expressed in the evidence brief are the views of the authors and should not be taken to represent the views of the Government of Ontario or McMaster University.