HALIFAX - Nurse practitioners will soon be able to discharge patients from hospitals in Nova Scotia following amendments to the province's Hospitals Act.
The changes will also allow registered nurses to assess, treat and release some patients in emergency departments and collaborative emergency centres.
As it stands, only physicians, midwives and dentists can release patients from hospitals.
Health Minister Leo Glavine says currently, nurse practitioners and registered nurses can assess and treat patients but can't discharge them even though they are trained and licensed to do so.
He says the changes will bring Nova Scotia in line with similar legislation in B.C., Ontario and Manitoba and free up physicians to treat patients.
The measures will start at pilot sites this spring, starting with nurse practitioner patient discharge at the Dartmouth General Hospital.