New Anesthesia Teams To Reduce Patient Wait Times For Surgeries



    McGuinty Government Unveils Collaborative New Team Approach To
    Counter Anesthesiologist Shortage

    TORONTO, March 17 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is reducing surgical
wait times with the creation of Anesthesia Care Teams and two new roles for
anesthesia-related health care workers, Health and Long Term Care Minister
George Smitherman announced today.
    "The McGuinty government is partnering with health care providers to help
increase patient access to surgeries," said Smitherman. "The creation of
Anesthesia Care Teams is an innovative approach that helps address the
shortage of Anesthesiologists in Ontario as we maximize the skills and
experience of trained professionals to provide greater surgical support."
    Anesthesia Care Teams are a collaboration between Anesthesiologists and
two innovative new health care roles, Anesthesia Assistants (AAs) and Nurse
Practitioners-Anesthesia. These teams are created as part of the government's
HealthForceOntario Health Human Resources Strategy.
    Anesthesia Care Teams will increase access and decrease wait times for
surgical procedures by increasing the number of trained anesthesia
professionals in the health care system. Nine pilot sites are being
established across the province.

    
    The pilot sites are located at:
    -   Halton Healthcare Services
    -   London Health Sciences Centre
    -   Royal Victoria Hospital
    -   Sault Area Hospital
    -   Southeastern Ontario Medical Organization (Kingston)
    -   Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
    -   The Ottawa Hospital
    -   Toronto East General Hospital
    -   University Health Network
    

    Anesthesia Care Teams grew out of recommendations made by the joint
Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ontario Medical Association
Operative Anesthesia Committee (OAC), chaired by Dr. Jack Kitts. Details are
provided in the OAC report Transforming the Delivery of Anesthesia Services in
Ontario.
    Anesthesia Assistants are trained health professionals who provide
technical and operational support to the anesthesiologist.
    "The training received by Anesthesia Assistants will allow them to work
collaboratively with Anesthesiologists, increasing coverage and effectiveness
in the operating room," said Paul Gamble, CEO of the Michener Institute for
Applied Health Sciences. "We believe that incorporating Anesthesia Assistants
into the anesthesia care teams will create a valuable partnership, leading to
better results."
    The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences received $1.35 million
to create Ontario's first certificate Anesthesia Assistant Graduate
Certificate Program. The first class recently graduated from this 22-week
program and some individuals are already working in their new role.
    Nurse Practitioners-Anesthesia are registered nurses with advanced
preparation at a Masters level who will take part in the provision of
anaesthesia care. The government is providing the University of Toronto with
funding to establish a joint program between the faculties of Nursing and
Medicine to provide a comprehensive curriculum required for Nurse
Practitioners-Anesthesia to participate in the Anesthesia Care Teams.
    "We're proud to be a part of this innovative approach to delivering
health care," said Sioban Nelson, University of Toronto Dean of Nursing. "Our
graduates will fill a great need and make a significant contribution towards
strengthening health care in Ontario."
    "Nurses are eager to increase their contribution to improved health care
access for all Ontarians," said Doris Grinspun, Executive Director of the
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO).
    "Anesthesiologists are delighted to lead the newly developed Anesthesia
Care Teams, which will include graduates from the Michener Institute and from
the University of Toronto's Advanced Practice Nursing program, in providing
outstanding care to Ontario's patients," said Dr. Stephen Brown, Chair of the
Ontario Medical Association Section on Anesthesiology.
    This is the latest example of how the McGuinty government is on the side
of Ontario families who want improved access to health care professionals.
Other initiatives include:

    
    -   A 23 per cent increase in medical school enrolment
    -   The creation of 150 Family Health Teams, which will improve access to
        primary care for more than 2.5 million Ontarians in 112 communities.
    -   More than doubling the number of training and assessment positions
        for international medical graduates from 90 in 2003 to 200 today
    -   Developing a comprehensive nursing strategy designed to make Ontario
        the employer of choice for nurses including:
        -  The opportunity for a full-time job opportunity for all nursing
           graduates starting in 2007
        -  Moving to 70% full-time employment for all nurses
        -  A program for late-career nurses
    -   Reinforcing the new fully inter-professional curriculum at the
        Michener Institute, funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term
        Care
    

    Today's initiative is part of the McGuinty government's plan for
innovation in public health care, building a system that delivers on three
priorities - keeping Ontarians healthy, reducing wait times and providing
better access to doctors and nurses.

    This news release, along with other media materials, such as matte
stories and audio clips, on other subjects, are available on our website at:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca under the News Media section.

    For more information on achievements in health care, visit:
www.resultsontario.gov.on.ca.


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    
             MCGUINTY GOVERNMENT INTRODUCES ANESTHESIA CARE TEAMS

    The McGuinty government is reducing surgical wait times with the creation
of Anesthesia Care Teams.

    Anesthesia Care Team pilot sites are being established at:
    -   Halton Healthcare Services
    -   London Health Sciences Centre
    -   Royal Victoria Hospital
    -   Sault Area Hospital
    -   Southeastern Ontario Medical Organization (Kingston)
    -   Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
    -   The Ottawa Hospital
    -   Toronto East General Hospital
    -   University Health Network
    

    Anesthesia Care Teams will include Anesthesiologists and two new health
care delivery roles - Anesthesia Assistants and Nurse Practitioners
-Anesthesia. These two positions will support Anesthesiologists to increase
access to surgery while reducing wait times. The new initiative is part of the
McGuinty government's HealthForceOntario strategy.
    Currently, Anesthesia Care Teams pilot sites are comprised of
Anesthesiologists and Anesthesia Assistants who have graduated from the
Graduate Certificate Program. Nurse Practitioners-Anesthesia will join the
teams when the program is developed and nurses graduate.
    Introducing these new roles will increase patient access to operating
rooms, reduce wait times for surgical procedures, and improve working
conditions for the province's Anesthesiologists. These positions further the
province's goal of making Ontario the employer of choice for health care
providers.

    Anesthesia Assistant

    Anesthesia Assistants (AAs) work closely with the anesthesiologist during
surgery. The AA provides technical support for complex anesthesia equipment
and airway management. In addition, the AA performs activities such as
provision of conscious sedation, administration of anesthetic gases and
medications, insertion and management of arterial lines under the direct
supervision on the anesthesiologist and under the authority of medical
directives.
    The Anesthesia Assistant Graduate Certificate Program, operated by the
Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences, is the first of its kind in
Ontario. The first class began in January 2006.

    Nurse Practitioners-Anesthesia

    The Nurse Practitioner-Anaesthesia (NP-Anaesthesia) is a Registered Nurse
(RN) with advanced education at the Master's level that provides specialized
knowledge and skills that will prepare the RN to take part in the delivery of
anesthesia care as part of the Anesthesia Care Team.
    The Ontario government is funding the University of Toronto to create a
joint education program between the faculties of Nursing and Medicine to
provide the comprehensive curriculum required for the NP-Anaesthesia role.

    Anesthesia Care Team

    Anesthesia Care Teams grew out of recommendations made by a joint
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Ontario Medical Association
Operative Anesthesia Committee (OAC). The Registered Nurses Association of
Ontario, the University of Toronto faculties of Nursing and Medicine, and the
Michener Institute are working together to develop the courses and operational
conditions for the establishment of the Anesthesia Care Teams.

    HealthForceOntario

    An innovative $45 million health human resources strategy, initially
announced on May 3, 2006, HealthForceOntario has three main objectives:

    
    -   Establish new roles in high-need areas
    -   Develop Ontario's health care workforce
    -   Better equip Ontario to compete for health care professionals.

                             www.health.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: David Spencer, Minister's
Office, (416) 327-4320; A.G. Klei, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,
(416) 314-6197; Members of the general public: 1-866-532-3161

Organization Profile

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890