Honourable Mention: Access to Primary Care in French in Waterloo and Wellington

In the spring of 2010, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care made a call for proposals for the development of Family Health Teams across the province. Dr Nipun Madan, a family physician, contacted the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to get its support in his application of a bilingual (French/English) family health team in Guelph.

The Waterloo Wellington LHIN recommended to Dr. Madan to contact the French Language Services Coordinator for the region who assisted him with his application by engaging the Francophone community to write letters of support as well as contributing a report regarding the Francophone community in Waterloo Wellington.

In 2011, Dr. Madan received approval of the Ministry to proceed with the development of the Family Health Team and the approval was very much conditional on the provision of French services. In order to provide mental health services, a partnership was created with Trellis who by then had developed a French telemedicine mental health program and all clients of the Family Health Team had access to this service.

Since then, the Mango Tree Family Health Team has expended and a new Kitchener based satellite has opened in the summer. This location will be staffed with a French-speaking physician as well as a French-speaking nurse practitioner.

I wish to congratulate all those who contributed to this great success. Although Waterloo-Wellington is not a designated area under the French Language Services Act, it is of course excellent news that Francophones in the region can now count on dynamic teams to offer them the French-language health services they need.

The Honourable Mentions Series is a series of 15 blog posts that the Commissioner is releasing to individually highlight initiatives by government ministries and agencies that demonstrate efforts to expand the delivery of high-quality French-language services, as listed in his 2012-2013 Annual Report. The full list of honourable mentions and the relevant blog posts are available here.

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