New medical team for Don Mills area

Ontario announces funding for a Family Health Team to help the local seniors in need and 7,500 other patients

Don Mills residents are on track to easily accessible to local family health care services.

The province recently announced a group of Don Mills doctors will receive funding to form one of 30 new Family Health Teams in the province.

“We’re very excited,” said Jonathan Mousley, initial chair of the Don Mills Family Health Team. “The Local Health Integration Network showed there was a dearth of medical care in the area, especially with a very high seniors population… and a lot of immigrants.”

The latest trend in family medicine, Family Health Teams bring together groups of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, dieticians and other types of health care workers in order to provide a greater array of services to patients in one location.

The announcement is good news for area residents uncertain about the future of local medical services. As part of the Shops at Don Mills redevelopment, Cadillac-Fairview is proceeding with plans to convert a medical building at 75 The Donway into a retirement residence.

“That was a concern… this building especially had a number of physicians and a lab and those sort of things so there was concern amongst seniors especially that we would lose those facilities,” Mousley said. “That is one of the reasons why we were successful in getting funding for the Family Health Team in Don Mills.”

He added the new facility will include services tailored to the community, such as diabetes services care for seniors and management of chronic diseases prevalent in the South Asian community.

First adopted 20 years ago to try and ease the burden on overworked family doctors and to try to re-direct traffic away from crowded hospital waiting rooms, the Family Health Team idea has taken off. The province’s latest announcement brings to 200, the total number of Family Health Teams operating in Ontario.

Touring a North York facility recently, Premiere Dalton McGuinty called the idea “one stop shopping,” featuring after-hour care, and easier referrals to other health practitioners in the team.

Now that they have funding, the Don Mills group plans to hold its first board meeting soon and is currently at work developing a business and operational plan, a task they hope to complete by the end of the year.

“We plan to open with three to five physicians in the spring and then eight or more by the time we’re mature. That could be in two or three years,” said Mousley.

A search is also underway to find a home for the new team.

“Our ideal is to have a main location and branch location so we can serve the community better,” Mousley said. He noted any location should have access to public transit and parking in order to accommodate patients in a catchment area that will stretch from York Mills Road to Eglinton Avenue and Leslie Street to Warden Avenue.

The new Don Mills Family Health Team is expected to eventually serve a mix of over 7,500 new and existing patients.

About this article:

By: Joshua Freeman
Posted: Nov 8 2010 12:44 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto