Ontario has asked thousands of family health-care workers to work evenings and weekends to help ease the burden on overwhelmed children’s hospitals.
In a government memo obtained by The Canadian Press, the Ministry of Health asks family clinics to offer extended hours until further notice.
The health minister’s spokeswoman says extended hours at family clinics will help avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals, and primary care providers will be compensated through OHIP.
The Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario says many clinics across the province are already offering extended hours to help deal with the surge of patients with respiratory illnesses.
The association says the government memo was not a directive, but a request to help tell patients, especially sick children, where to go for help when a clinic is not open.
Pediatric hospitals across the province are well beyond capacity with children flooding emergency rooms and intensive care units with the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.