Thursday, November 28, 2013

Improvement in Medical Care in Manitoba

November 27, 2013 ALL MANITOBA'S NEWEST PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS TO PROVIDE CARE WITHIN THE PROVINCE: MINISTER SELBY All 12 physician assistants graduating this year have accepted positions within the province, ensuring their skills and expertise will benefit Manitobans seeking care, Health Minister Erin Selby announced today to mark Physician Assistant Day in the province. “Physician assistants are providing capable and compassionate care across the province and we are extremely pleased to see this profession grow in Manitoba,” said Minister Selby. “Manitoba has led the country in training physician assistants, recognizing the important role they play in making health care more timely and accessible, and this is great news for Manitoba families.” New physician assistant positions were created in priority areas of the health-care system to ensure graduates are working where they are needed most. Seven of the new positions are in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority in the primary care, emergency and cardiac departments. The other graduates will be working in: •the Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority -two positions in Selkirk’s emergency department; •the Northern Regional Health Authority -one position in the emergency department in Thompson; •the Prairie Mountain Health region -one position in the surgery department in Brandon; and •the Southern Health – Santé Sud region -one position in primary care in Winkler. “Physician Assistant Day is a great opportunity to highlight a very successful health-care initiative where Manitoba has led the country,” said Chris Rhule, president of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants and a practising physician assistant in Winnipeg. “Physician assistants are an integral part of the 2015 promise and are working in the system to improve access to care and ensure system efficiencies.” There are currently physician assistants working in every regional health authority in a variety of health-care settings including emergency departments, surgery, medical rehabilitation, family medicine and mental-health services. Working collaboratively with a physician, they conduct patient exams, order diagnostic tests, undertake minor procedures, and prescribe needed medications and treatments. “I am thrilled we have successfully trained and retained 12 physician assistants to continue their work in Manitoba,” said Dr. Brian Postl, dean of medicine at the University of Manitoba. “These newly graduated physician assistants will provide much-needed care and attention to families in every corner of our province.” The minister noted this program was the first of its kind in Canada when it was established in 2008. Since then, 46 people have graduated from the Physician Assistant Education Program. More than 87 per cent of graduates continue to provide care in Manitoba. “Being a physician assistant means I can work collaboratively with the surgeons, nurses, patients and their families to have a positive impact on their care and make a difference,” said Jeff Harnden, a recent physician assistant graduate working in the surgery program at the Brandon Regional Health Centre in the Prairie Mountain Health region. “I’m excited to start my career here in Manitoba by working in a rural region where I can help people get the care they need.” In 2009, Manitoba became the first province in Canada to put legislation in place that allowed physician assistant students to become associate members of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba. This gives students the opportunity to provide care to patients and support to other health-care practitioners and physicians, while also being governed by the high standards of medical professionalism required by the college, the minister said. Increasing the number of physician assistants is part of the province’s strategy to improve Manitobans’ access to primary health-care services including a commitment to have access to a family doctor for all Manitobans who want one by 2015. - 30 -

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