Eliminating urgent care nurse practitioners won't save money, finds AHS
Physician workload and pay would increase if nurse practitioners were phased out, says report
A new report from Alberta Health Services (AHS) shows eliminating nurse practitioners from urgent care centres would not save the health-care system money.
The findings come a year after a controversial decision to cut the positions at clinics in Airdrie and Cochrane, which was later reversed.
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For some the findings are a vindication after months of waiting.
"It affirms that nurse practitioners are effective in urgent care settings, that they're cost-effective and they give really good care," said Donna Clare, who teachers nurse practitioners at Athabasca University.
"That's important for the public to know and it's important for Alberta Health Services to know."
At the heart of the review is the discovery that any reduction in nurse practitioners would lead to increased physician workload — which means increased pay.
It says there is international evidence proving the use of nurse practitioners leads to shorter lengths of stay, decreases in wait times and fewer repeat visits.
Overall, the report recommends using both doctors and nurse practitioners in urgent care centres — however, it also says this will be a challenge in future, given the limited supply of specially-trained nurses in Alberta.