Sask. to license physician assistants
The Saskatchewan government has introduced legislation to license physician assistants (PAs) in the province.
The initiative was announced in last week's budget and will cost $1.3 million in 2023-24 for 12 new positions within the health system.
Physician assistants work under the supervision of a licensed doctor to assist with health care delivery.
"Licensing and integrating physician assistants into our health-care teams will help meet the health care needs of Saskatchewan people," Health Minister Paul Merriman said in a news release.
The Medical Profession Amendment Act, 2023 was introduced in the Saskatchewan legislature on Tuesday afternoon.
Physician assistants will be regulated under the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan.
"Physician assistants are health professionals who have taken additional advanced training at one of the recognized programs in Canada. They practise medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician, often within a multidisciplinary health team," the Ministry of Health said in a news release.
Physician assistants have been licensed to work in Ontario and Manitoba, and will now be regulated to work in Saskatchewan. They could work in the province previously, but were not regulated.
"This is a vital step in effectively introducing PAs into the province at a critical time when the health-care system has been stretched to the limit," said Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) Saskatchewan director Todd Bryden.
Bryden thanked the government and said PAs will be a "vital part of our health-care system."
"Regulating PAs through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan means that PAs in the province will be required to follow standards for competency, safety and ethics like other regulated health professionals in the region. This ensures they are accountable for the care they provide, and the public is protected, further strengthening and lending credibility to the PA profession in Canada," Bryden said.
The government said it consulted the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Saskatchewan Medical Association and CAPA before introducing the legislation.
After introducing the Health and Human Resources Action Plan in September, Merriman suggested the government was considering licensing physician assistants.