Butcher and Heale first appealed to then Health Minister George Smitherman about four years ago with an idea for primary health-care clinics run by nurse practitioners in Sudbury, many of whom were unemployed.
NPs work with some physicians and in family health teams, but this was the first model in which the clinics were actually run by nurse practitioners.
When Premier Dalton McGuinty visited the NP clinic on Riverside, he called it the future of health care. The next day, his government approved funding for another two dozen NP-led clinics.
Local councillor Jacques Barbeau attended the official opening, as did Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez. Both credited Butcher and Heale for coming up with an innovative idea and running with it.
"This is the real deal," said Barbeau about the nurse practitioner clinic. "This model is here to stay."
The Lively site is housed in the former satellite office of the police service. It includes several consultation rooms and offices and a large meeting room and kitchen in the basement, of which Heale is particularly proud.
Butcher said thousands of formerly orphan patients in Sudbury now have access to primary health care because of the NP clinics.
A patient satisfaction survey done of the clinics shows that 96% of patients are very satisfied or satisfied with the type of care they are receiving. More than 85% are happy that they are waiting less time for appointments than they were at previous medical practices.
For information about the clinics, phone 671-1661 or visit www.sdnpc.ca.