PROVINCE ANNOUNCES FIRST STEPS TOWARD A FAMILY DOCTOR FOR EVERY MANITOBAN BY 2015
– – – Nurse Practitioners to Play Key Role in Provincial Strategy to Transform Health System Through Innovation, Recruitment, Education: Selinger
Manitoba will introduce nurse-practitioner-led quick-care clinics and mobile clinics while expanding the successful Advanced Access care model as the first steps toward ensuring every Manitoban who wants a family doctor has one by 2015, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.
“If you don’t have a family doctor today, our plan will ensure you have one soon,” said Selinger. “If you already have a doctor, it will mean faster and more convenient access to the care you need when you need it.”
Manitoba’s plan will not only focus on introducing more doctors and nurses into the system but also on innovations to help front-line providers see more patients faster.
“We’ve made significant investments to improve access to family doctors and primary care over the past several years that now allow us to take the next steps in transforming the system,” said Health Minister Theresa Oswald. “Ensuring every Manitoban has access to care when they need it is not only good for patients and families, it’s also vital for the long-term sustainability of our public health-care system.”
Among the innovations announced today is the introduction of quick-care clinics with extended hours. These conveniently located clinics will be staffed by nurse practitioners, allowing patients with more minor health issues to receive care faster while taking pressure off family doctors who will, in turn, be more available to care for more patients with more complex health issues. Quick care will be piloted at five sites throughout the province beginning in 2011.
“We agree that all Manitobans should have access to a family doctor and are pleased to see the government taking steps toward this admirable goal,” said Dr. Carey Isaac, president of the College of Family Physicians of Manitoba. “As physicians we look forward to working with the province and nurses to develop a strong inter-professional network that will help make this a reality.”
“Maximizing the scope of practice of registered nurses and nurse practitioners will increase access to health care for everyone,” said Diane Wilson Máté, RN, acting executive director of the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba. “We are very pleased with today’s announcement because this optimization of services will increase the capacity of the system to provide care in a way that serves the best interests of the public.”
The primary-care health-bus pilot program will also be launched in 2011. This mobile clinic will bring essential health services to smaller and remote populations that don’t currently have regular access to primary-health services close to home. In addition, the province has announced an expansion of the successful Advanced Access model that will continue to allow more doctors offices to help improve efficiency and reduce wait times. Under Advanced Access, an expert team of trainers works with clinics to make scheduling and office-management changes that better allow patients to get appointments when they need them.
“Every Manitoban deserves access to a family doctor, but they don’t necessarily need to see their doctor for every health concern,” said Oswald. “That’s why nurse practitioners, registered nurses and other health providers are critical to our plan. More doctors are only one part of the solution.”
The minister noted the province will work with key partners including regional health authorities, the Manitoba College of Family Physicians, the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba and other regulatory bodies, and the Nurse Practitioner Association of Manitoba to develop further initiatives under this plan.