Nurses and the Primary
Union of Nurses (SUN) advocates for a primary health care model wherein patients
can gain access to primary health care twenty-four hours a day. In the
early 1990s, a number of pilot projects were set up, the first of which was
at Beechy, Saskatchewan, in an attempt to facilitate primary care teams. These
teams would consist of any number of health care providers; physicians, registered
nurses and nurse practitioners working together to ensure that a patient gets
the most appropriate care by the most appropriate professional.
project at Beechy saw much involvement by SUN. SUN had to negotiate
job descriptions and rates of pay for the nurse practitioner who would be working
in the facility. The model remains in the community and has expanded
to other communities near Beechy.
to the 2001 Caring for Medicare Report prepared by Ken Fyke, SUN continued
to advocate for a reformed primary care model. A 2000 edition of SUNSPOTS
Spots , SUN's member magazine, outlines the major recommendations that
SUN made to the Fyke report. These clearly underscore SUN's commitment
to creating a primary care model in Saskatchewan:
- Implement province-wide primary care reform to provide citizens with 24-hour
access to primary health care services
- A provincial network
of community health centres employing multi-disciplinary teams, and a special
program for nurses which combines education and experience in primary care
settings. This would attract nurses from other provinces.
- Pushing out fee-for-service and capitation in favour of a salaried model
for Saskatchewan physicians.
- Expand medicare to fully fund primary health services, emergency services
and home care, followed by long-term care, pharmaceuticals and expansion
of the dental plan.
- Phase out private for-profit ownership of health delivery services that
receive public funding.
- Create an effective health human resources plan to ensure an adequate
supply of all health providers, particularly nurses and physicians, and the
creation of healthy work environments.
- Invest in a healthy society with policies to reduce poverty and unemployment,
increase opportunities for education, social housing, paid maternity leave,
family income support, increased minimum wages, early childhood support
and development, environmental protection, occupational health and safety,
food safety, health promotion and education.
- Establish population
health targets such as reducing premature births and infant mortality,
chronic diseases and preventable accidents. Provide
early screening, prevention, and treatment of major chronic and preventable
diseases such as diabetes, health disease and lung cancer.
- Reinforce national funding, standards, and appropriate trade policy to
prevent expansion of for-profit health care.