NEXT STEPS IN ONTARIO’S YOUR HEALTH PLAN: Nurse Practitioners Can Further Alleviate Pressure on Wait Times for Surgeries and Diagnostic Procedures

The Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario acknowledges the Ontario government’s efforts under the Your Health Plan to improve access to surgeries and diagnostic procedures. While we appreciate the steps taken, we strongly assert that the funding for Nurse Practitioners must be expanded to significantly contribute to these goals. Nurse Practitioners continue to be an underutilized resource that can directly alleviate the wait time on diagnostic procedures, such as cervical screening. 

Although the reduction of the backlog in cervical screening tests to pre-pandemic levels as noted in the release is a positive step, it should not be the ultimate target. Nurse Practitioners, as integral healthcare team members, possess the skills, knowledge, and expertise to play a crucial role in addressing healthcare challenges, including performing pap smears and cervical screenings. We insist on a more assertive stance in enabling Nurse Practitioners to provide services directly to their communities and alleviate pressure in diagnostic procedures and cervical screening initiatives, such as conducting pap smears.

Expanding the role of Nurse Practitioners in these services is not just about reducing wait times but also about ensuring accessible preventive care. Nurse Practitioners can actively support government goals by delivering comprehensive and timely care in settings such as community surgical and diagnostic centers. Their ability to manage and coordinate patient care perfectly aligns with the objectives of the Your Health plan.

NPAO continues to support the ongoing efforts to enhance healthcare in Ontario and urges the government to enable and support Nurse Practitioners in delivering care to patients.  By utilizing the full potential of Nurse Practitioners, Ontario can achieve even greater success in reducing wait times and ensuring high-quality and accessible care for all.

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