Sudbury District Nurse Practitioner Clinics

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Minister of Health George Smitherman visited Greater Sudbury Thursday. He attended the opening of the nurse practitioner clinic, and earlier in the day made an announcement regarding St. Joseph’s Villa. Pitching in were Jo-Anne Palkovits president St. Joseph’s Health Centre; Mayor John Rodriguez; MPP Rick Bartolucci; Sister Mildred Connelly, chair, board of directors, St. Joseph’s Health Centre; Margaret Ashcroft, vice-chair, and Mathilde Gravelle Bazinet of the northeastern LHIN.
Over the past few years, the St. Joseph’s Health Centre has been fundraising to make up the difference. In addition, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie have pledged a sizable donation. No further fundraising will be required for the project. “We are pleased to be part of today’s announcement,” said Jo-Anne Palkovitz, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Centre.

“St. Joseph’s Health Centre has an important role to play in expanding the range of services available to patients needing specialized complex care. Once built at the St. Joseph’s Village of Care, these additional beds will assist in alleviating the pressure on acute services at the Sudbury Regional Hospital.”

Smitherman also promised $9.6 million for the construction of a not-for-profit 128-bed long-term care home to be opened by the end of 2010 by St. Joseph’s Health Centre.

The province is also committed to building a total of 128 new long-term care home beds in Chelmsford by 2010 to increase access to quality long-term care health services,  Smitherman said.

“Our government is working hard to meet the needs of communities that are experiencing long-term care pressures,” said Smitherman. “These new beds mean residents will have access to a higher quality of life in a new, home-like environment.”

Mathilde Gravelle Bazinet, chair of the North East Local Health Integration Network said her organization is “delighted the government is moving forward with this new investment to enrich our community and make life easier for residents.”

While Smitherman was in Sudbury yesterday, he attended the  grand opening of the Sudbury District Nurse Practitioner Clinics.

The province is providing funding of $1 million for the facilities, which could lessen the doctor shortage crisis in the Greater Sudbury Area. Nurse practitioners can provide some of the same services as a doctor.

The main clinic will operate out of Sudbury, with satellite locations in Dowling and Chapleau. Staff at the clinic in Chapleau began caring for patients in July, while the Riverside Dr. clinic opened its doors earlier this month. The Dowling clinic is expected to be open soon.

The clinics, which will offer primary health care services to roughly 4,500 people in northeastern Ontario, began taking patients earlier this summer.

“There will be lessons that have to be learned being pioneers with this project,” he said. “(But) what we’re unlocking here today will be expanded across Ontario to those who want good quality health care.”

Nurse practitioner clinics will unlock care for some Ontarians who are still on the outside of the health care system and will utilize the nurse practitioners who remain on the sidelines, Smitherman said.

He noted that over the last four years, training spots for nurse practitioners have doubled from 75 to 150, and he expects to see that number to grow even more.

“This clinic is a testament to the efforts of so many people who saw the need for better access to health care and worked together to make this a reality,” said Marilyn Butcher, a nurse practitioner and clinic director at the Sudbury District Nurse Practitioners Clinics.

“There are so many people in this area who don’t have access to a primary health-care professional, and we know the clinic will start to remedy that and offer them the care they need and deserve.”

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education and decision-making skills in assessment, diagnosis and health care management. They have legislative authority to treat common illnesses and injuries, write prescriptions, order lab tests, X-rays and other diagnostic tests.

The clinic currently employs four nurse practitioners, as well as support staff and  physician partners. Within the next year, services will be expanded to include a dietitian and a social worker.

Originally published in Northern Life

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March 2024
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