Nurses and Physicians in Partnership: Shorter Wait Times for Canadians

    WINNIPEG, Oct. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is
pleased to announce the release of a joint vision statement with the College
of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) on the value of collaborative
interprofessional care for Canadians. The document was released today at a
media conference held as part of the CFPC's annual Family Medicine Forum in
Winnipeg, Manitoba. Kaaren Neufeld, president-elect of CNA, participated in
the news conference and shared preliminary findings that show that when nurses
work in partnership with family physicians and other health professionals,
wait times are drastically decreased and access to health services improves.
    "Teamwork strengthens family practice and creates synergies that benefit
the patient, their families, the provider and the health system," says
Neufeld. "Nurses, doctors, pharmacists, social workers, dieticians and others
have a long and rich history of working together in primary care settings. Our
joint statement builds on that relationship and on evidence of its
    Programs that support the development of collaborative teams in primary
care settings and optimize the skills of each health professional are being
implemented across the country. One of these programs is supported by Primary
Care at the Capital District Health Authority in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and
after six months, it is already showing promising results in terms of reducing
wait times and improving access to care.
    "At this early stage, teams are already reporting an increase in the
number of patients who are being seen, and timely access to care has shown
considerable improvement," states Patsy Smith, RN, project lead of the Nursing
in Your Family Practice program in Halifax. "This has been accomplished while
comprehensive chronic disease management, health promotion and disease
prevention have been enhanced. The majority of practices involved in this
program have also increased their ability to accept new patients."
    Collaboration among health professionals is one of four elements of
improved health services for Canadians. Other elements include research into
new technologies and innovations, implementation of electronic systems and
adequate health human resources.
    "A key strategy to achieving improved access to primary health care for
patients in Canada will be enhanced access to collaborative care between
family physicians and nurses as well as other health professionals," says
Dr. Tom Bailey, CFPC president. "To this end, the CFPC is very pleased to join
with CNA in the development of the joint vision statement released today that
challenges governments and key health-care stakeholders to support the
resources needed to improve access to care."
    In a time of health-care reform, when service delivery models are
shifting from the institution to the community, it is increasingly important
that registered nurses and nurse practitioners work with family physicians in
primary health care teams. "Nurses complement the work of family physicians
and vice versa," says Neufeld. "Each team member brings a unique set of
skills, knowledge and expertise to patient care."

    CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. It
is a federation of 11 provincial and territorial professional associations and
regulatory authorities for registered nurses. CNA believes that the
sustainability of a publicly funded, publicly administered, not-for-profit
health system rests upon a vibrant nursing workforce.

For further information:

For further information: Tina Grznar, communications specialist,
Canadian Nurses Association, Cell: (613) 240-7830,; Jayne
Johnston, communications manager, The College of Family Physicians of Canada,
1-800-387-6197, ext. 303,

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