OUR PLAN FOR HEALTHCARE
Nova Scotians deserve a strong, unified healthcare system. One that spends less on administration and focuses on front-line care. Over the past four years, we have delivered on that need, with more money than ever going towards hiring doctors, nurse practitioners and other clinicians, and addressing waitlists. However, there is far more work to be done. Like all of the Atlantic provinces, our population is aging, chronic disease rates remain high, and orthopedic wait times continue to be unacceptable. These issues are not fixed overnight. It takes proper planning, targeted investment, and bold leadership. We need to continue to move forward, building on our successes and addressing the challenges.
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Access to Primary Care
Expanding collaborative care
We’ll create or expand more than 70 collaborative teams, so Nova Scotians receive the care they need when they need it from their primary health care providers. These teams will help us better treat chronic diseases, like diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and their goal will be to offer same-day or next-day appointments. Doctors, nurses and other practitioners will be able to work together in flexible partnerships across our province.
Recognizing that some communities may not have the facilities required to effectively deliver collaborative care, we will also set aside $5 million exclusively for new collaborative care construction or building renovations.
Recruiting and retaining family doctors
Our plan will enhance the existing family residency program by adding 10 new spaces, create a new practice-ready assessment program that will add 10 new spaces for internationally trained doctors, and adjust the tuition relief program to allow doctors in more areas of the province to qualify for up to $120,000 in tuition relief in exchange for a five-year commitment. We will use new information about underserviced areas to focus on those communities that were previously ineligible.
Surgical Wait Times
Reduce waits for hip and knee surgeries
A re-elected Liberal Government will work with the NSHA to reduce waits for hip and knee surgeries. In 2017-18, we will invest an additional $2.7 million to complete an additional 400 surgeries and $1 million to enhance prehabilitation, which will help patients have more successful surgeries – or even avoid surgery. Going forward, the NSHA will be instructed to create a central booking process, increase OR utilization, and provide improved education/direction on patient options. They will continue to enhance prehabilitation efforts and create designated orthopedic centres. This work will help us to continue to make progress on reducing the waitlist.
Expanding caregiver benefits
We will continue to expand the supports offered in the home so that no Nova Scotians are left waiting for support. A Liberal Government will also expand eligibility of the Caregiver Benefit program to caregivers of people living with low-moderate dementia and mental health issues. This will qualify over 1,600 more people for $400 per month in support and allow seniors to stay in their homes longer.
Mental health and additions
Provincial mental health services plan
A re-elected Liberal Government will create a provincial mental health services plan that will draw on advice from clinicians across the province. It will include a new central intake system, increased access to community-based support, expanded crisis services and mental health support workers placed in collaborative care clinics across the province.
Access to needed drugs
A re-elected Liberal Government will continue to ensure Nova Scotians have access to the drugs they need by working with other Atlantic provinces to explore an Atlantic Pharmacare model, with the intent of developing an approach that sets an example for the rest of the country. One of our first areas of focus will be to come up with a way to address gaps in coverage for oral cancer and other chronic disease medication. We will also continue to ensure no premium increases in the Seniors Pharmacare program.