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Lift the cap on nurse practitioner clinics, Gélinas argues

Capped at 25 across the province, Nickel Belt MPP says lifting it could help ease pressure on the health-care system

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas wants the Ford government to lift the cap on nurse practitioner-led clinics in Ontario.

During Question Period on Nov. 18, the Northern Ontario MPP asked Health Minister Sylvia Jones why something that could help ease pressure on the healthcare system isn’t being explored. 

“Minister, the Nurse Practitioners Association is at Queen’s Park today — they have a very simple ask: lift the cap on the number of Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics (NPLC),” Gélinas said. “The 25 NPLC across the province are all success stories. Every one of them provides access to top quality interdisciplinary primary care to over 100,000 Ontarians who used to go to one of our overcrowded emergency departments for care.”

She said expanding the clinics would give more Ontario residents access to primary care. 

In a news release, Gélinas cited a Globe and Mail story that stated nearly 1.8 million patients in Ontario didn’t have a regular primary-care provider as of March 2020, while another 1.7 million had a family doctor nearing retirement age.

“Another step the Minister can take to help the over 1.3 million Ontarians who do not have a family physician and who need access to primary care, by simply adding more nurse practitioner positions to the existing clinics,” she said. “It is a very cost effective and immediate step the government can take. These nurse practitioners will help patients, help the health care system, and save money.  It is a win-win-win solution.”

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced university education who provide a full range of health care services to individuals, families, and communities. Regulated by the College of Nurses of Ontario, NPs must meet rigorous requirements to maintain ongoing registration.