Progress and Goals Outlined in Report to Nova Scotians

first_img The changes being introduced into the health-care system are toensure quality care and to keep people healthy. That means havingthe right mix of health-care professionals across the province;access to the right services in a timely manner, as close to homeas possible; and ensuring standards, policies and guidelines arein place and being used consistently. To assist with planning, the province has committed a seven percent funding increase for district health authorities for thenext three years. “We need that same guarantee of predictable funding from thefederal government, not only to expand what we offer, but moreimportantly, to sustain what we have now,” said Mr. MacIsaac.”This is critical as we will continue to face challenges in thehealth-care system.” Nova Scotia’s health budget is $2.2 billion. Every hour, $250,000is spent on health care in Nova Scotia. The $60 million in one-time additional funding announced by the federal government, forexample, would cover only 240 hours or 10 days of health care inNova Scotia. The report, released today, March 19, will be distributed to NovaScotians through daily newspapers on March 27. It is available onthe department’s website at www.gov.ns.ca/health . Nova Scotians who need health-care services have access to moredoctors and more nurses, new community-based health programs andare experiencing shorter wait times. The findings are captured inthe health ministers’ first annual report to Nova Scotians on theprovince’s health-care system. The report, titled the Ministers’ Report to Nova Scotians:Confident Change for Quality Care, is a follow-up to the 2003Your Health Matters plan. Your Health Matters focuses on healthpromotion, shorter wait lists, seniors’ care and health servicesin communities. Progress in these key areas is highlighted in theministers’ report. “When we released Your Health Matters, we committed to updatingNova Scotians on improvements and challenges in the health-caresystem,” said Mr. MacIsaac. “I’m very proud of the progress we’vemade over the past year amidst various challenges. This reportwill provide Nova Scotians with the opportunity to see what we’redoing to improve the health-care system today and how today’ssuccesses fit into our vision for the future.” The report to Nova Scotians highlights the progress made in thelast year. Some of the highlights include: more doctors andnurses are now working in Nova Scotia — last year at least 46new physicians were recruited through the health department’srecruitment office; there are 156 more registered nurses at thebeginning of the 2004 licensing year than the previous year; anadditional 91 long-term care beds were added in the province inthe past year. There have also been improvements in wait times. The $5 millioninvested by the province in a new cardiac catheterization (cath)lab and additional surgery capacity at the QEII Health SciencesCentre has ensured cardiac care wait times are well withinnational standards. A 10-point plan was announced in January 2004to address wait times at the QEII emergency department, andadditional resources were announced for orthopedic surgery inHalifax and New Glasgow. The Department of Health has alsocommitted to acting on the recommendations of the Wait TimeMonitoring Project Steering Committee to implement standardized,provincewide wait time information over the next five years. The last year has also seen more community mental healthresources. In 2003, a new intensive community-based mental healthtreatment team for children and youth was established in CapeBreton; in 2004, a new treatment centre for youth with severe andpersistent mental health or behavioural problems was opened inHalifax. “We know that changing our overall health status will take years – a full generation perhaps,” Health Promotion Minister RodneyMacDonald said. “People need to choose healthier lifestyles, while government needs to ensure that health is considered in alldecisions. And we are. There are many challenges that affect usall, but there is a real desire to work together to achieve ahealthier province.”last_img read more