Ontario's doctors support collaboration among health care professionals

TORONTO, Sept. 29 /CNW/ - At an appearance today before the Ontario Legislative Standing Committee on Social Policy, Ontario's doctors will stress the importance of health care professionals working together to enhance and strengthen the delivery of safe and quality care to patients. The Standing Committee is listening to oral submissions from stakeholders as the government moves ahead with proposed legislation that would expand the scope of practice of some health care providers.

"Ontario's doctors firmly believe that collaboration between health care professionals is the best way to strengthen and enhance the delivery of safe, high quality care to patients," said Dr. Suzanne Strasberg, President of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). "We know that when physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, dieticians and other health professionals work together we can and often do, deliver a more comprehensive level of care to our patients."

The OMA applauded several aspects of the proposed legislation including:

      -  Requiring all regulated health professionals to have professional
         liability protection;
      -  Creating an independent expert drug committee that will streamline
         regulatory processes, support colleges in developing their drug
         lists while keeping pace with the changing health care landscape;
      -  Setting parameters for HPRAC to make recommendations regarding
         changes to health professions statutes.

However, Dr. Mark MacLeod, President-Elect of the OMA will raise some concerns at the hearing about several proposals within the legislation. Specifically, with respect to pharmacists being granted the ability to 'adjust, adapt or extend' a prescription, Dr. MacLeod pointed out that this may create separate practice silos between a prescribing physician and a pharmacist and this type of fragmented treatment may diminish the quality of patient care.

Dr. MacLeod reiterated the OMAs long standing position that collaboration among health professionals results in a more comprehensive level of care being delivered to patients. The OMA strongly believes that if nurse practitioners are able to prescribe, dispense, sell, or compound drugs, then their prescribing power must be carefully regulated. More importantly, all drugs should be vetted and approved by the proposed independent expert drug committee rather than the College of Nurses of Ontario.

"The number one priority for Ontario's doctors throughout this entire process has been and remains patient safety because the level and quality of care that a doctor can provide should not be substituted for expediency," said Dr. MacLeod. "Ontario's doctors have offered constructive recommendations that we believe will protect patient safety by ensuring that all health care professionals maintain collaborative relationships with physicians."

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: For further information: OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862

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