Primary care is facing an accelerating capacity crisis driven by worker shortages, a patchwork of delivery models, and inadequate data systems, according to Ontario's disbanded COVID-19 science table.
In a final series of briefs, the science table shared lessons learned during the pandemic and called for urgent action to strengthen the sector.
More than two years of ongoing COVID-19 response has challenged primary care capacity in Ontario for better and worse, said the advisory group.
Primary care clinicians have taken on new roles, including administering COVID-19 vaccines, educating patients and the public, and collaborating with hospitals and community groups to address health equity gaps while rapidly expanding virtual care.
However, "these new roles resulted in trade-offs, with non-COVID-19 care being deprioritized at times, and some care gaps have emerged as a result," the science table said.
In Ontario alone, more than 170 000 people lost access to their family doctors...