Wynne would let nurses write basic prescriptions

By: The Canadian Press

 | May 16, 2014 - 11:17 AM |
TORONTO - A re-elected Liberal government would expand the powers of nurses and nurse practitioners to do more tasks currently done only by doctors, Premier Kathleen Wynne pledged Friday.

Registered nurses would see their abilities expanded to include prescribing a wide range of medications, such as those for skin conditions, while nurse practitioners would be allowed to order a range of tests such as CT scans, she said.

The Liberal government has made a priority of supporting health care workers, added Wynne.

"It's about letting nurses work to the full scope of their practice — that their capacity and their education is used fully in the system," she said at a Toronto rehab hospital.

Prescriptions for narcotic drugs would still be handled only by physicians, she said.

The head of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Doris Grinspun, said letting nurses dole out medications for common ailments such as ear and sinus infections would help cut health care wait times.

"You will transform the system overnight," she said.

Wynne used the announcement to take shots at rival Progressive Conservative Tim Hudak, saying she doubted that his pledge to chop 100,000 public sector jobs would, as he says, leave health care untouched.

"That that could be done without affecting health care is, I think, questionable at best," Wynne said, noting health care consumes almost half the province's spending.

She stopped short of saying that Hudak couldn't be taken at his word on what would and would not be affected by the cuts, repeating her refrain that "decisions that government make have consequences."

Wynne was to address a nursing conference later Friday.

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