FREDERICTON (GNB) – Legislation introduced today is intended to give New Brunswickers better access to primary care by giving nurse practitioners greater authority within the health-care system.

“Your government is listening to New Brunswickers and knows that providing greater access to primary health care is a priority,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “By enacting these legislative changes, we are allowing nurse practitioners to play a bigger role in improving health-care services for all New Brunswickers.”

The proposed legislative amendments would allow nurse practitioners to admit patients to the New Brunswick Extra-Mural Program and use diagnostic services in health-care facilities for the care of these patients. The changes would also authorize nurse practitioners to record the cause of death on a death certificate.

The Department of Health has worked with the Nurses Association of New Brunswick and other stakeholders to identify legislative barriers to nurse practitioners’ practice. The proposed changes are aimed at enhancing access to primary health-care services, reducing delays and improving service delivery.

“Nurse practitioners have provided improved access to primary care for residents of New Brunswick for over a decade, both in the community and long-term care settings,” said association president Brenda Kinney. “These changes in legislation would enhance points of access for patients and improve quality of care processes at end of life. The association continues to work with the provincial government to promote improved access, specifically for patients requiring mental health services.”

“I am proud that our government is continuing to work with health-care professionals to identify areas where improvements can be made,” said Boudreau. “By enhancing our collaboration, we are ensuring nurse practitioners have the authority to do their job in an efficient and effective manner and, in turn, improving health-care outcomes for all New Brunswickers.”

The legislative amendments, if passed, would take effect on April 1, 2017.