Primary Care Provider Update: Directive #2 and Cancer Screening (January 26, 2022)
- The Ontario Government recently re-instated Directive #2 under Section 77.7 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. The purpose of the Directive is to allow for the ramp down of non-essential services if required to preserve health system capacity to meet the health care needs of patients with COVID-19.
- Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) (OH-CCO) has indicated that cancer screening tests (including those delivered by primary care providers in their offices) and associated follow-up / diagnostic assessment procedures can be continued based on capacity and availability of resources. Currently, the cessation of non-essential care under Directive #2 does not apply to primary care.
- Risk-based prioritization frameworks for both screening and diagnostic assessment should be followed if ramp down of services needs to occur to respond to resource and capacity limitations.
|Program||Status||What You Need to Know|
|Screening||Continue with routine screening unless resource/ capacity issues (then follow risk-based prioritization*)||
|Diagnostic Assessment||Risk-based prioritization*||
|Cancer Screening Correspondence||No change||
* Individual providers may need to adjust their screening and diagnostic service capacity as-needed to respond to site-specific pressures
Key Messages and Actions for Providers
- Continue to provide and promote cancer screening. Emergent/urgent care for patients should be prioritized, but providers should continue to provide cancer screening services to patients who are due/overdue for screening in their offices. Follow-up of abnormal screens (e.g. positive FIT, high grade cervical dysplasia and BIRADS 4 and 5 breast imaging) will continue to be prioritized.
- Educate patients about what to expect when visiting a clinic or hospital. Reassure patients that safety measures are in place. Emphasize the importance of attending or giving notice if there is a need to change an appointment. Suggest reviewing the hospital/clinic website prior to a visit. Many sites have implemented tools like online COVID-19 screening that can be completed prior to appointments to avoid line-ups.
- Stay connected. Reach out to your Regional Primary Care Lead, Dr. Meghan Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions. Updates and provider resources are posted on the regional website: https://hnhbscreenforlife.ca/covid-19/healthcare-providers/. Follow us: Facebook or Twitter (@HNHB_Cancer).