Saskatchewan is testing out a new health clinic model, which could see patients making appointments to see nurse practitioners instead of a family doctor.

Health Minister Everette Hindley says to both expand the services and availability of nurse practitioners in Saskatchewan, and alleviate pressure on other health professionals, the provincial government is launching a pilot project to develop several independently operated, publicly funded clinics staffed by nurse practitioners instead of physicians.

“We want to be able to better utilize their (nurse practitioners’) skills and abilities. It is why we’re working closely with them on expanding scope of practice, and other expansions to areas of service that they can province,” Hindley stated.

A clinic operating under this model was opened in Warman in August 2023, and another one will be opening down the highway from Warman in the next few months.

“We’ll be looking forward to the opening of another nurse practitioner clinic opening in Martensville a little bit later this year. As a matter of fact, I am told April is when the target date for that opening is.”

When it comes to staffing these clinics, and others, the government added that 25 new nurse practitioner positions will be created over the next 12 months under the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

“By providing and creating more of these opportunities, getting more types of different health care providers involved with primary care, it provides more options for patients, but it also takes off some of that workload.”

One or two more of these NP clinics are set to pop up elsewhere in the province within the year. Patients will not pay out of pocket for these services, and funding options will be discussed next week as part of budget deliberations due to be delivered in the Legislature on Wednesday March 20th.