This seems a progressive move given the shortage of doctors. Also, many of these duties can be performed as well if not better by nurses with the proper extra training that nurse practitioners have. No doubt these duties are also less expensive when carried out by nurse practitioners and can free up doctors' time for other duties.
Nurse practitioners to head 3 new Ontario clinics
Last Updated: Friday, February 20, 2009 4:08 PM ET
Nurse practitioners in Ontario can treat common illnesses and injuries, and order diagnostic tests. (CBC)
The Ontario government is going ahead with three new clinics headed by nurse-practitioners, the first of 25 set to open by 2012.
The clinics will focus on primary care, including chronic disease management and health promotion, the Ministry of Health said Friday.
They are intended to fill gaps in primary care, especially the shortage of family doctors.
"Today’s announcement is the answer thousands of people have been waiting for," Wendy Fucile, president of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, said in a comment posted on the ministry's website.
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional education in health assessment, diagnosis and management of illnesses and injuries.
As well as treating common ailments and injuries, they can order lab tests, X-rays and other diagnostic procedures.
Ontario’s first nurse practitioner-led clinic, which opened in Sudbury in 2007, provides health care to about 2,000 patients, the ministry said. Nurse practitioners are increasingly popular, but still represent a tiny proportion of the nearly 258,000 registered nurses in Canada, the Canadian Institute of Health Information reported in 2007.
Between 2003 and 2007, the number of licensed nurse practitioners almost doubled to 1,346, the institute said. Every territory and province except the Yukon Territory had licensed nurse practitioner programs in 2007, it said.
The three new clinics in Ontario will be opened in Belle River, about 30 kilometres east of Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay.