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More Authority Given to Nonphysician Health Professionals

In certain Canadian provinces, nonphysician health care professionals are being allotted greater responsibility. In October, the Ontario government expanded the scope of practice for pharmacists, giving them the authority to renew most prescriptions and offer some services previously provided only by doctors. Regulations were changed to allow pharmacists to renew nonnarcotic prescriptions, provide advice to people with chronic conditions, and give flu shots.

Both Ontario and British Columbia (B.C.) have increased the capacities of nurse practitioners, granting them the authority to admit and discharge patients without having to wait for the approval of a doctor or supervisor. According to the B.C. Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, expanding the role of nurse practitioners will help fill some of the gaps in the health care system and will improve efficiency, saving doctors, nurses, and patients time.


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