Embracing allied primary health providers

To the Editor:

In light of recent media, and opinions shared throughout social media, the Paramedic Association of Manitoba would like to commend our allied primary health providers such as the physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) for their dedication to providing primary and emergency healthcare to Manitobans.

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The Paramedic Association of Manitoba represents over 1,600 licensed paramedics and emergency medical responders throughout the province of Manitoba. Our membership consists of rural, urban, and northern practitioners, who are in a variety of practice realms. We often work in conjunction with both professions either in emergency departments or in community settings on a regular basis.

Healthcare in Canada is changing, and with the ever-growing, aging and diverse population, your health professions have developed strategic and evidence-based disciplines to assist in ensuring your healthcare is maintained and services are available to you. This includes the community paramedic, nurse practitioner and physician assistant. The education, training, and clinical experience of these professions are diverse, intensive and developed to meet and exceed the needs of the populations they serve. Each and every practitioner is guided by a code of ethics, a defined scope of practice and a commitment to provide evidence-based medicine and interventions to enhance and support healthcare throughout the province.

Use of community paramedics, nurse practitioners and physician assistants is not a novel idea, and it is not specific to our northern and remote communities. In southern Manitoba, when a physician is absent or not employed, hospitals get shut down and clinics close. Here in the north there is a leadership that embraces innovation and are using allied healthcare providers to ensure your primary and emergency healthcare needs are continued with minimal disruption. Throughout Saskatchewan many emergency departments have converted to collaborative emergency centres which are staffed by NPs, PAs and community paramedics, and Long and Brier islands in Nova Scotia also have similar programs. Throughout the world there are even more examples of the successful use of these professions, including testimonial and evidence to their ability and effectiveness in ensuring the healthcare of all Canadians.

The Paramedic Association encourages you all to remain open and receptive to allied healthcare providers being and participating in your primary and emergency healthcare. With support from within our respective professions and consultation with other professions including midwives, physicians and leadership, these providers will meet and exceed your healthcare needs, and will also refer you for expert consultation when needed. 

Cameron Ritzer

Chairman, Paramedic Association of Manitoba


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