CBRM Healthcare Redevelopment names Senior Medical Director

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

There is no doubt that there are challenges with healthcare delivery in Cape Breton. Cape Bretoners are seeing and feeling those challenges first hand. Everyday.

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

Your Liberal Government is investing approximately $500 million to expand and renew the ageing healthcare infrastructure in CBRM.

Other government had the opportunity to make similar investments, but they did not. It is your Liberal Government that is taking action.

Our focus will be to build a healthcare system that will serve Cape Bretoners for the next 50 years. 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 ageing healthcare infrastructure in the CBRM.

The planning process for the redevelopment, which was announced last June and is expected to take 9-12 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.

Dr. Kevin Orrell, chief of orthopaedic surgery at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, will be the senior medical director for the $500 million CBRM Healthcare Redevelopment. Dr. Orrell will work with medical professionals across the CBRM to ensure the expansion and renewal of the ageing healthcare infrastructure meets the current and future health needs of Cape Bretoners.

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).

While work is underway on the ground, we do know that the CBRM redevelopment will include…

  • The Emergency Department at the Cape Breton Regional expanding by 40%, along with more surgeries being performed, and more hospital beds.
  • The Cancer Centre more than doubling in size.
  • 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 ageing 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.

$500 million is the estimated cost of these investments in healthcare infrastructure that are needed both to attract doctors – who want to work in modern facilities that have access to the latest technology – and for Cape Bretoners to have modern healthcare facilities.

And none of the old facilities will close until the new facilities are up and running.

Government recognizes that these investments 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…

  • Recruiting 8 new family doctors and 3 new specialists in Cape Breton.
  • Providing more than 11,000 Cape Bretoners with access to a primary care provider.
  • Hiring 17 new positions in Cape Breton to create and strengthen collaborative practice teams including 4 nurse practitioners, 8 family practice nurses, and 5 social workers.
  • Creating an ER shift premium/incentive offered to doctors to try to cover hard-to-fill emergency department shifts in Cape Breton.

And across the province, government is acting to address the primary care shortage 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 19 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 to want to work in Nova Scotia, with the first group of candidates expected to begin assessments this year.
  • 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.

Let’s be clear, there is plenty of work to do to address the healthcare 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 healthcare infrastructure Cape Bretoners need.