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Provincial government looks for ways to ease workload for Sask. doctors

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The provincial government is looking for ways to ease the workload for Saskatchewan doctors. It is proposing that pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and paramedics play a greater role in treating patients.

“With regards to areas where our own patients are having trouble getting prescriptions available to them, especially in rural areas where sometimes there is limited or no doctors’ services,” said George Furneaux, a pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart.

The government is conducting a scope of practice review for several medical professions, aimed at easing the strain on the health care system.

Examples cited include allowing paramedics to stitch cuts in ambulances instead of transporting patients to the ER, granting hospital admission and discharge authority to nurse practitioners and allowing pharmacists to prescribe medication for some medical conditions.

“I do applaud the government for taking this initiative because people will see material improvements to healthcare through this initiative,” said Michael Fougere, CEO of the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan.

The government’s goal is to reduce wait times at doctor’s offices and to provide patients with some additional options in accessing healthcare.

It will spend the next several weeks consulting with medical professions before deciding how far to go with changes.

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