Access to healthcare is the current focus of the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, which manages and enforces disability legislation in Ontario. The report by KPMG LLP covers legislation and standards from other countries, Australia and New Zealand being among them. The research revealed that, “In general, it appeared that gaps often remain between policies and what actually happens in practice”. Seven overarching healthcare barriers were found:
- Effective transitioning between health care providers, through different life stages and support systems. Further issues include administrative coordination, sharing of information, and planning.
- Trust barriers, insensitivities, negative experiences, and discrimination resulting in patients less likely to seek out healthcare, ultimately resulting in poorer health and creating risks for conditions going untreated.
- Challenges faced in identifying and describing symptoms leading to healthcare providers having difficulty providing effective treatment.
- Infringement on patient confidentiality and consent with healthcare providers due to communication issues.
- Prevalence of inaccessible healthcare practices and clinics that create difficulties in navigating the healthcare system and accessing care.
- Ongoing issues with receiving correct directions for medication, including inaccessible labelling and lack of clear instructions on the use of medication.
- Inability to access physical activity opportunities as well as emotional barriers and negativity toward exercise leading obesity, depression and low confidence.
Anyone interested in what other countries are doing about progressing issues of access and inclusion will find this interesting. Ontario’s goal is to ensure accessibility for all Ontarians is achieved by 2025.