McGuinty Government Increasing Access to Nurse Practitioners and Midwives



    $24.5 Million Investment Gives Ontarians Increased Access To Services

    TORONTO, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is making sure that
Ontarians have access to the health services they need by creating more
training spots for midwives and nurse practitioners, Health and Long-Term Care
Minister George Smitherman announced today.
    "Today's announcement means that approximately 1,200 additional women in
Ontario will be able to choose a midwife to deliver their baby," said
Smitherman. "It means that more nurse practitioners will be able to provide
much needed health care - these are tangible results for Ontarians."
    The government is investing $24.5 million to create 80 additional
training spots and to increase access to nurse practitioners and midwives.
    Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with additional education and
experience who are able to order and interpret diagnostic tests, communicate
diagnoses, prescribe select pharmaceuticals and independently prescribe
authorized clinical procedures.
    Midwives provide around the clock, on-call, primary care to low-risk
women throughout pregnancy and to new mothers and their newborns for six-weeks
following birth.
    "More midwifery and nurse practitioner students build on our progress in
adding 86,000 college and university students - a 22 per cent increase - since
our government started," said Chris Bentley, Minister of Training, Colleges
and Universities. "We've tripled the number of students receiving grants and
increased maximum assistance by 27 per cent after an 11 year freeze."
    Today's announcement is part of the government's HealthForceOntario
health human resources strategy, a multi-year plan to give Ontario the right
number and mix of health care providers, working in communities across the
province. The announcement includes:

    
    -   $2.3 million to expand enrollment in the Midwifery Education Program
        from 60 to 80 starting this fall with a further expansion of 10 seats
        the following year for a total of 90. This is a four-year
        undergraduate program offered through three universities: McMaster
        University, Ryerson University and Laurentian University. Enrollment
        will be expanded.

    -   $5 million for a 50-seat expansion of the Nurse Practitioner
        Education Program, a 12 month full-time post baccalaureate
        certificate program currently offered at 10 universities throughout
        Ontario. Enrollment will expand from 150 to 200 with new seats
        opening beginning in the fall 2008.

    -   $12.2 million to immediately increase access to midwifery services by
        funding up to 67 new graduates this year

    -   $5 million in salary and benefits to immediately support the
        recruitment and retention of nurse practitioners
    

    The minister announced the $5 million in salary and benefits for nurse
practitioners on June 7 in a speech at the Association of Ontario Health
Centres conference.
    This is just one more example of how, working together through
HealthForceOntario, Ontarians have achieved results in the recruitment of
health care professionals. Other initiatives include:

    
    -   Creating the Nursing Graduate Guarantee program, which ensures full-
        time work opportunities for all 2007 Ontario nursing graduates

    -   Fulfilling a commitment to create 8,000 new nursing positions in
        Ontario

    -   Increasing medical school enrolment by 23 per cent.
    

    Today's initiative is part of the McGuinty government's plan for
innovation in public health care by 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.

    
    Disponible en français.

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

             MIDWIFERY AND NURSE PRACTITIONER EDUCATION PROGRAMS
    

    Midwives and Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioners play important roles
in the health care system and support the government's commitment to increase
access to health care professionals. This increased enrollment will mean
better health care outcomes for patients through increased access to primary
health care providers, chronic disease management and key health services.
Additional midwives and Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioners will also
improve patient centered care delivery for all Ontarians.

    Midwifery Services

    Midwives provide around the clock, on-call, primary care to low-risk
women throughout pregnancy and to new mothers and their newborns for six-weeks
following birth. In 2006, there were 366 midwives providing services with the
help of physicians and nurses. More than 60 midwifery practice groups provide
care for eight per cent of the births in 2006/07. In 1994 there were only
70 midwives practicing in Ontario. The government's continuing investment will
bring the number of midwives practicing, and in training, to over 400.

    Midwives have been regulated in Ontario since 1994.

    Midwifery Education Program

    The Midwifery Education Program is a four-year undergraduate program that
is offered through three universities: McMaster University, Ryerson University
and Laurentian University.
    The government is investing $2.3 million to increase the enrollment by 20
seats, which will be divided between the three universities. An additional
10 seats will be added in 2008/09. This will bring the total enrollment of
midwives from 60 to 90.

    Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Services

    Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with
additional education and experience who are able to order and interpret
diagnostic tests, communicate diagnoses, prescribe select pharmaceuticals and
independently prescribe authorized clinical procedures. Primary Health Care
Nurse Practitioners work in a variety of settings including primary care,
community, long-term care homes, emergency departments, Aboriginal Health
Access Centres and out patient clinics. The government currently funds over
700 nurse practitioner positions across a variety of programs and practices.

    Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Education Program

    The Ontario Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program is currently a
12 month full-time post baccalaureate certificate program offered through
10 universities throughout the province.
    The government is investing $5 million to increase enrollment by 50 seats
over the next four years. These seats will be divided between the universities
that offer the program. Currently, the universities are:

    
    -  Lakehead University                  -  University of Ottawa
    -  Laurentian University                -  University of Toronto
    -  McMaster University                  -  University of Western Ontario
    -  Queen's University                   -  University of Windsor
    -  Ryerson University                   -  York University
    

    This will bring the total enrollment of Primary Health Care Nurse
Practitioners from 150 to 200 with new seats opening in the fall 2008.
    The government will work with the universities to accommodate
distribution of increased enrollment based on eligible applicants,
geographical issues related to access, as well as physical and teaching
capacity within the schools. The increased enrollment will create greater
efficiency in service delivery and better outcomes for the patient.

    HealthForceOntario

    On May 3, 2006, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care announced
HealthForceOntario: an innovative, collaborative multi-year plan to give
Ontario the right number and mix of health care providers, working in
communities across the province to meet Ontario's health needs - now and in
the future. It includes a range of initiatives designed to help Ontario
identify its health human resource needs, develop new provider roles to meet
our changing health needs, work closely with the education system to develop
people with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes, and compete effectively
for health care professionals.

    
    Disponible en français.

                             www.health.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Jeff Rohrer, Minister's Office,
(416) 326-8016; 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

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Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

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