Ontario considers expanding scope of practice for nurses, pharmacists, and more


Published March 9, 2023 at 2:14 pm

Ontario is considering expanding the scope of what certain health professionals, such as nurses, can do in periods of “high patient volumes.”

A spokesperson for Health Minister Sylvia Jones says it’s part of a large health bill currently before the legislature and is intended to help with staffing levels on a short-term basis during those surge periods.

A key aim of the legislation is to allow more private clinics to offer certain publicly funded surgeries and procedures, in a bid to lower wait times, though critics are concerned about the expansion of private delivery of public health care.

Jones’ spokesperson, Hannah Jensen, says the ministry is looking at giving registered nurses prescribing powers, allowing nurse practitioners to order and apply defibrillation and apply ECGs, and allowing pharmacists to administer “certain substances” by injection or inhalation, among other expansions.

It comes as the NDP and the Ontario Health Coalition advocacy group are raising concerns about language in the health bill they say could deregulate certain health professions and allow people to call themselves doctors and nurses, even if not necessarily qualified.

But Jones says that section of the bill is intended to allow for new “as of right” rules, which would let health professionals work in Ontario without having to immediately register with the regulatory colleges in this province.

The Canadian Press

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