The Government of Saskatchewan is looking at innovative ways to increase patient access to a variety of health care services and to build capacity within our health care system. 

In the coming days, the Ministry of Health will begin consultations with a variety of stakeholders on enhancing the scope of practice for pharmacists, nurse practitioners and advanced care paramedics. The consultations will inform any legislative, regulatory or bylaw amendments that may be needed to allow these health professionals to expand or optimize the services they can currently provide. 

“Empowering our highly educated health-care professionals to utilize all of their knowledge and skills will ensure patients have greater choice and more timely access to health services,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said. “These consultations will inform system improvements which align with our ambitious four-point plan to recruit, train, incentivize and retain health-care workers in Saskatchewan.”

Some examples of potential changes could include: 

  • allowing paramedics to stitch minor wounds or cuts rather than transporting to the emergency department;
  • allowing Nurse Practitioners admitting and discharging privileges in hospitals; and
  • potential for independent prescribing for pharmacists.

The proposed changes would benefit patients through anticipated shorter wait times for primary care or having additional options for accessing certain health care services.  This will also provide the opportunity to allow all of our health professionals to contribute to safe care across a number of services as we work to support our health human resources across the health system. 

Consultations will include regulatory bodies, associations, unions and health system partners and will take several weeks. These consultations are a key part of supporting the goals of the Health Human Resource Action Plan to increase and stabilize our health workforce.

As government and health system partners continue to explore ways to enhance access to health services there may be opportunities for scope optimization and expansion for additional health professionals in the future.