October 9th, 2019

NDP proposes physician assistants as part of health care crisis solutions

HALIFAX - While Liberal governments are undermining how military members’ access to health care is covered, the NDP is tabling legislation today that would create new health care jobs for veterans here at home. The NDP bill would allow physician assistants to work in Nova Scotia, adding to the options to provide front-line health care.

“We need all hands on deck to solve the health care crisis,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “Physician assistants are one way of expanding the number of qualified health care professionals able to deliver services in our province. This could potentially reduce emergency room closures and the number of people on the wait list for a family doctor.”

Under the supervision of a physician, physician assistants take histories, conduct physical examinations, order and interpret tests, diagnose and treat illnesses, counsel on preventive health care and may assist in surgery. Many physician assistants are retired military personnel, who worked in military hospitals.

“The Union of Veterans Affairs Employees supports this initiative to help create job opportunities for veterans in the healthcare sector as a welcome first step, although much more action is required by governments at all levels to help support veterans with their basic housing, health and living needs when they return from overseas or are medically released,” said Virginia Vaillancourt, National President of the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees.

Other provinces, including Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and New Brunswick, have physician assistants as part of their health care system.

The NDP is focused on solutions to the health care crisis, including better public reporting of the crisis, more nursing home beds, and same-day/next-day appointments for mental health issues.