The history of health care in Canada is linked to the vital role played by family practice and our nation’s family physicians. As we deliberate the future of our health care system it is essential that we contemplate the place that will be assumed by family physicians and their practices. The vision of family practices serving as Patients’ Medical Homes is intended for the consideration of all who are concerned about the health of Canadians and the health care provided for them. This includes not only family physicians, nurses, and the health professionals and staff who work with them in their practices but also a broad range of other stakeholders in governments, medical schools, and other health care organizations whose responsibilities and commitments intersect with those delivering family practice services. Most important, this vision is intended for the people of Canada, over 30 million of whom are currently cared for by family physicians in urban and rural family practices throughout the nation, as well as the four to five million who do not yet have family physicians.
In October 2009, the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) presented its discussion paper Patient-Centred Primary Care in Canada: Bring it on Home.3 It described the pillars of a model of family practice focused on meeting patient needs.
Feedback from a broad cross-section of stakeholders including family physicians, other health professionals and their associations, governments, and the public provided important perspectives that are now incorporated into this vision paper describing family practices throughout Canada serving as Patients’ Medical Homes.