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8 thing you need to know about Cape Breton healthcare

From one corner of the province to another, Nova Scotians agree that health care should be at the forefront of the government’s agenda. We agree.

There is no doubt there are challenges with health-care delivery in Cape Breton. Cape Bretoners are seeing and feeling those challenges firsthand. Every day.

It’s important to remember the problems in our health care system didn’t start overnight and won’t be fixed that quickly either.

Here are 8 things you need to know about your Liberal government’s plan for health care in Cape Breton…

1) HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WILL BE INVESTED TO EXPAND AND RENEW THE AGING HEALTH-CARE INFRASTRUCTURE IN CBRM.

Your Liberal government is investing hundreds of millions in the CBRM Heath Care Redevelopment Plan that will expand and renew aging health care infrastructure in CBRM.

Our focus is to build a health-care model that will serve Cape Bretoners for the next 50 years. This will lead to a more modern system that will be attractive to doctors who are interested in beginning or enhancing their career in Nova Scotia. That starts with replacing the aging health-care infrastructure in the CBRM.

2) ALL EXISTING HEALTH-CARE FACILITIES WILL REMAIN OPEN UNTIL THE NEW FACILITIES ARE UP AND RUNNING.

None of the existing facilities will close until the new facilities are up and running. The CBRM Health Care Redevelopment will expand health-care service for Cape Bretoners and is needed to attract and retain health-care professionals in CBRM.

3) THE PLANNING PROCESS FOR THE REDEVELOPMENT IS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY AND IS BEING LED ON THE GROUND IN CAPE BRETON, BY CAPE BRETONERS.

The planning process for the redevelopment, which was announced last June and is expected to take 9-12 months from that date, is currently underway and is being led on the ground in Cape Breton, by Cape Bretoners, and will determine the specifics of the redevelopment going forward.

4) ACTION IS BEING TAKEN NOW TO ADDRESS THE IMMEDIATE HEALTH-CARE CONCERNS OF CAPE BRETONERS.

Government recognizes that the investments in the CBRM Health Care Redevelopment will take time to build, and that there are issues that need to be addressed prior to these new facilities opening. That’s why action is being taken now to provide better care to Cape Bretoners by…

  • Creating an ER shift premium/incentive offered to doctors to try to cover hard-to-fill emergency department shifts in Cape Breton.
  • Recruiting eight new family doctors and seven new specialists in Cape Breton.
  • Hiring 25 new positions in Cape Breton to create and strengthen collaborative practice teams including four nurse practitioners, eight family practice nurses, and five social workers.
  • Providing almost 13,800 Cape Bretoners with access to a primary care provider.

There is still more work to do, and there is no doubt that there are challenges with healthcare delivery in Cape Breton. Cape Bretoners are seeing and feeling those challenges firsthand. Every day.

5) TRAINING, RECRUITING, AND RETAINING HEALTH-CARE PROFESSIONALS IS OUR TOP PRIORITY.

Across Nova Scotia, government is acting attract and retain primary health providers by: …

  • Adding 10 new residency spaces in family medicine and 15 new residency spaces for specialists at Dalhousie University.
  • Creating the new Physician Immigration Stream which has brought 25 new doctors to Nova Scotia since it was launched in February 2018.
  • Adding 25 new seats at Dalhousie University, over the next two years, to train more nurse practitioners (NP).
  • Creating a new Practice Ready Assessment Program to assess internationally-trained family doctors who want to work in Nova Scotia. The College of Physicians and Surgeons started accepting applications for the program in January 2019.
  • Supporting the Physician Tuition Relief Program that will rebate up to $120,000 of medical school tuition in exchange for a five-year commitment to practice in Nova Scotia.

We are seeing progress with recruitment efforts, including in Cape Breton where eight new family doctors and three new specialists have recently been recruited, including two from the Physician Immigration Stream.

6) DR. KEVIN ORRELL HAS BEEN APPOINTED AS THE SENIOR MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF THE CBRM HEALTH CARE REDEVELOPMENT.

Dr. Kevin Orrell, chief of orthopaedic surgery at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, will be the senior medical director for the Cape Breton redevelopment project. Dr. Orrell will add the senior medical director role to his other responsibilities, and will remain in Cape Breton, supporting the redevelopment project on the ground. He will work with medical professionals across the CBRM to ensure the expansion and renewal of the aging health care infrastructure meets the current and future health needs of Cape Bretoners.

In a career spanning nearly 30 years, Dr. Orrell has been an invaluable part of Cape Breton health care, and has chaired the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation, as well as being the national president of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association. He is a lifelong Cape Bretoner, born and raised on the Northside, and we’re grateful that Dr. Orrell is bringing his expertise and vision to the project.

Dr. Orrell is joined by Mark LeCouter (team senior director), Mickey Daye (clinical director for redevelopment in New Waterford and North Sydney), Troy Penney (clinical director for the expansions at the Glace Bay and Cape Breton Regional hospitals), Lorianne MacLean (team project lead), and Leanne Fitzgerald (lead engineer on the project team).

7) THE NEW INFRASTRUCTURE BEING BUILT FOR THE CBRM HEALTH CARE REDEVELOPMENT WILL INCLUDE:

  • The new Emergency Department at the Cape Breton Regional will double in size from 20,000 to 40,000 square feet. Exam rooms will increase from 34 to 46, and patients will now have access to x-rays and ultrasound services without leaving the department.
  • The new Cancer Centre will more than double in size from 25,000 square feet to 65,000 square feet and will expand from 15 Clinical Exam Rooms to 23.
  • The Intensive Care (ICU), Coronary Care (CCU), and an Intermediate Care (IMCU) Units at the Cape Breton Regional will all be relocated into the new facility. Their current foot print of 12,500 square feet will expand to approximately 40,000 square feet, more than three times the size. Critical Care rooms associate with the ICU, CCU, and IMCU will expand from 24 to 36.
  • The Glace Bay ER expanding by 30%, along with more surgeries being performed, and more hospital beds.
  • New Waterford and North Sydney each receiving a new state of the art community health centre that will replace the aging New Waterford Consolidated and Northside General Hospitals. The new community health centres will have almost all the same services that exist today.
  • New long-term care facilities in New Waterford and North Sydney.
  • Building a new 6-station dialysis unit in Glace Bay.

Hundreds of millions of dollars will be investments in the health care infrastructure that is needed both to attract doctors – who want to work in modern facilities that have access to the latest technology – and to deliverer the quality health care services Cape Bretoners deserve.

8) A ONCE-IN-A-GENERATION INVESTMENT IN THE HEALTH-CARE INFRASTRUCTURE CAPE BRETONERS NEED.

There is plenty of work to do to address the health-care challenges in Cape Breton. And there is no silver bullet that will magically solve everything. But your Liberal government is taking meaningful steps to address these challenges and making a once-in-a-generation investment in the health-care infrastructure Cape Bretoners need.

 



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