03/11/2014 07:05 EDT | Updated 05/11/2014 05:59 EDT

Manitoba to bring in 50 assistants so doctors can see more patients

WINNIPEG - Manitoba is hiring 50 new health-care professionals to help lighten the workload of family doctors so they are able to see more patients.

Health Minister Erin Selby says nurse practitioners and physician assistants will help the province reach its goal of a family doctor for every Manitoban by 2015.

The first of 14 ”My Health Teams”, which bring together various physical and mental health professionals to provide collaborative care and prevention, will be established in Steinbach this spring.

Team members could include doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, midwives, dietitians, mental-health professionals or pharmacists, based on the needs of specific populations.

Selby says about 80 per cent of Manitobans have a family doctor.

Dr. Mark Duerkson, a family doctor in Steinbach, says the biggest positive is that the team takes into account the community’s local health needs.

“Our clinic will be collaborating on a more intentional level with other health care providers in the areas of chronic disease nursing, mental health, public health and dietician services.

"This collaboration will occur through a shared electronic medical record, which will improve the scheduling process for patients, provide ready access to important patient health information, improve communication between providers and form a basis for inter-professional continuing medical education," Duerkson said.