The creation of a leading edge, patient-centred health care delivery system for the over 500,000 Ontarians with chronic, complex environmentally-associated illnesses.
The independent, self-governed hub, affiliated with the University of Toronto and other academic health centres, will provide teaching, research, health promotion, and policy analysis as well as secondary and tertiary clinical services. It will operate as a referral resource for primary care providers, and support the spokes in the delivery of best and promising practices – including those for continuum of care support services – based on evidence from research and leading clinics, and from the findings of patient-centred needs assessments.
Our overarching goal is to achieve ‘recognition, inclusion and equity’ for people living with the often painful and disabling conditions of ES/MCS (environmental sensitivities/multiple chemical sensitivity), ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome) and FM (fibromyalgia).
At present, more than 568,000 patients with these conditions lack the normal rights, benefits, policies, programs and facilities that Ontario makes available to those with conditions of comparable severity and prevalence.
We advocate for appropriate services and care to be developed and integrated into our health care system at all points along the normal continuum of care; and for normal rights and benefits to be extended to people living with these conditions as appropriate to their disabilities.
In November 2013, a business case proposal for the Ontario Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health (OCEEH) was submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. It was titled: Recognition, Inclusion and Equity: Solutions for Ontarians living with Environmental Sensitivities/Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.
The proposal and its supporting documents set out the urgent need for a comprehensive network of care and support and a much better quality of care for Ontario patients with these conditions, as well as, eventually, for other chronic, complex environmentally-linked illnesses.
The OCEEH network would provide expert medical and inter-professional care – a strong clinical component and a strong component addressing the social determinants of health. It would develop an extensive research program, linked to treatment and to basic research, to better understand causes, diagnostic and treatment methods. It would assist government in policy development and work toward reducing barriers to access across the board, and to advancing equity. It would establish develop educational materials and initiatives for 4 major sectors: physicians and health professionals; government and public sector officials and employees; the general public; and patients and families.
To read a more detailed summary of the key features of the OCEEH initiative, including functions:OCEEH in a Nutshell