January 11th, 2024

Nova Scotians need to see real improvements from new health care spending

HALIFAX – Nova Scotians want to know when real improvements to health care are coming to Nova Scotia. Earlier this week the federal government announced a new $355 million bilateral agreement to improve health care, but while millions are being spent, everyday Nova Scotians struggle to access the care they need.

“Tens of thousands of people don’t have a family doctor and this government is making changes to the emergency system that has many concerned about the type of care they’ll receive,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “Nova Scotians need to be sure that they'll get medical help in an emergency, but these days that isn't always the case. I've heard too many stories of people left waiting when they need emergency care.”

Last week, the Houston government announced they would hire emergency responders to work in ambulances alongside paramedics meaning not all ambulances will have two paramedics responding to every call. Dr. Margaret Fraser, a family physician and emergency doctor in Sydney, told CBC this week that people are concerned about this new position.

“It's not always possible to tell at the dispatch end what the acuity is, because patients themselves don't know what's happening to them when they call 911. And [paramedics] have concerns from the perspective of, if they get to a scene, they find that it's more acute, and now they have somebody with them who doesn't have the same skill set, they're essentially operating solo in a situation that's dangerous to the patient,” said Fraser. “There is a benefit to getting the paramedics back on the road. I'm not denying that. But if when they get to our department, they cannot be seen and they're being left with somebody who has very minimal medical training, then that creates a difficulty for the emergency departments and a difficulty for the patient.”

As of Dec 1, 2023, over 148,000 Nova Scotians are on the family practice waitlist and have to navigate the health care system without a health care team to support them.