TORONTO, Nov. 10, 2006 – The people of northeastern Ontario will soon have better access to primary health care, thanks to an announcement made today by the Ontario government.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) praises the McGuinty government for establishing a nurse practitioner (NP) clinic that will serve approximately 5,000 patients in the region – the first such clinic in Canada.
“We applaud Minister Smitherman for taking this important step. This government is demonstrating, in words and actions, that it intends to address wait-times not only in surgical care, but also in primary health care,” said RNAO President Mary Ferguson-Paré.
Nurse Practitioners are RNs with advanced education and decision-making skills in assessment, diagnosis and health-care management. They have legislative authority to treat common illnesses and injuries, write prescriptions, order lab tests, X-rays and other diagnostic tests.
The clinic will employ up to six nurse practitioners and a multi-disciplinary team that will include a dietician, a social worker and physician partners. The main clinic will operate out of Sudbury with satellite locations in Dowling and Chapleau.
“As local health-care providers and residents of Sudbury and area, we know firsthand how significant this clinic will be to people in the region. We are thrilled with this opportunity,” said nurse practitioner Roberta Heale, co-lead of the clinic, who, along with fellow NP Marilyn Butcher, expects the clinic will be ready to accept patients in early 2007.
“We are eager for the NP primary health care clinic to open its doors as soon as possible and begin serving the public,” said RNAO Executive Director Doris Grinspun. “Many NPs in this area are underemployed and at the same time, thousands of residents are left without adequate care. This announcement ensures NPs will be able to work to their full potential and provide those residents with timely and quality access to primary health care,” added Grinspun.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.