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Nurse practitioner clinic will be second of its kind in Canada

By Donna Hopper
SooToday.com
Friday, February 20, 2009

NEWS RELEASE

DAVID ORAZIETTI, MPP

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Orazietti announces provincial award of new nurse practitioner clinic to Sault College group

McGuinty government increasing access to primary health care for new patients and reducing pressure on the Sault Area Hospital

SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – David Orazietti, MPP was joined by members of the successful bid team to announce that a new nurse practitioner clinic will open at Sault College.

“Today’s announcement is great news for thousands of local residents who will now have greater access to primary health care,” said Orazietti. “The creation of nurse practitioner-led clinics in Ontario by our government will relieve pressure on the Sault Area Hospital, provide support for local health care professionals and marks a historic step in improving patient care, as we are the first province in Canada to implement this innovative health care initiative.”

The successful Sault College group has proposed that the clinic will include nurse practitioners, on-site physicians, consultative physicians and other health care professionals that could include pharmacists, dieticians and social workers. The McGuinty government has committed to provide operational funding and, if required, additional capital support for the new clinic.

The province and the local nurse practitioner group will work together over the next few months to determine a suitable funding agreement that will dictate when the clinic will open and the number of new patients it will serve.

“Nurse practitioners bring unique and valuable skills and experience to patient care teams across Ontario. By moving forward with new, nurse practitioner-led clinics, we are ensuring that more Ontarians have access to this innovative health care option,” said Dalton McGuinty, premier of Ontario.

Today’s announcement that the McGuinty government will deliver a nurse-led clinic at Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie is part of a provincial announcement that saw two other clinics awarded in Thunder Bay and the Windsor area.

The premier also announced that 22 additional clinics will be in place in communities across Ontario by the end of the provincial government’s current mandate.

“Nurse practitioners play a vital role in our health care system,” said David Caplan, minister of health and long-term care. “This team-based approach to managing the health of Ontarians is just one initiative of a health care system that puts the patient first.”

While the McGuinty government has built the first new medical school in Canada in more than 30 years, increased medical spaces by 15 percent at the five previously existing medical schools in Ontario, and more than doubled the number of foreign trained physician spaces, which has cumulatively added a 23 percent increase in physician supply, the addition of nurse practitioner-led clinics will further enhance access to primary care.

“We are excited that we have been successful in our proposal to establish a nurse practitioner-led clinic in this community, the second of its kind in Canada,” said Debbie Graystone, lead nurse practitioner for the new clinic. “The nurse practitioner-led clinic model is an integrated team of nurse practitioners working collaboratively with physicians to provide primary care health care to identified populations with no such access. Other allied health care providers will be used to enhance this service. We are optimistic that we will contribute to the many efforts that are being made locally to ease the crisis in primary care provision.”

Nurse practitioner-led clinics are a changing and innovative approach to serving patients.

This local team-based model consists of nurse practitioners working collaboratively with other health care professionals, like family doctors, to provide quality care that is closer to home.

“I congratulate the successful Sault College group and will work to help ensure that the new clinic has the resources it needs to provide care to patients in our community despite the current economic difficulties we are facing,” said Orazietti. “The premier’s leadership on new health care initiatives has been outstanding and today’s announcement would not be possible without his support.”

Quick facts

- Nurse practitioners are able to treat common illnesses and injuries, order lab tests, X-rays and other diagnostic tests.

- Nurse practitioner-led clinics will focus on chronic disease management, health promotion and disease prevention along with other community-based health care organizations, such as public health units.

- Ontario’s first nurse practitioner-led clinic opened in Sudbury in 2007 and provides family health care to approximately 2,000 patients.

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