NS report highlights challenges of out-of-province health care services for Islanders

 

Charlottetown – A new report on the Nova Scotia health system highlights the challenges that the MacLauchlan government’s management of out-of-province health services is having on Island patients and taxpayers.

Code Critical, a report on overcrowding issues at the QE II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax was released yesterday by the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union (NSGEU). The report highlighted administrative challenges surrounding how Prince Edward Island manages its out-of province health services. The report found that the province has no policy for the return of patients once medically discharged which can lead to extended time in acute care beds at off-Island hospitals. The report noted that a lack of home care supports made it more difficult to return non-ambulatory patients back to the Island to continue their recovery.

“We rely on our sister provinces to help provide access for Islanders to specialized health services not available at home. We also have a duty to be a cooperative partner in ensuring timely access to quality health care efficiently and at good value to taxpayers. This new report shows we need to do a better job of getting our citizens home after receiving care in off-Island hospitals to continue their recovery,” says Opposition Leader Jamie Fox.

The 2015 Auditor General’s Report found a number of issues with how the MacLauchlan government managed out of province health services, which at $48 million annually makes up one of the fast growing health costs for the province. The Auditor General found poor administrative and financial controls, little tracking or analysis, and little effort to consider whether repatriation of certain health services locally would improve access and reduce costs.

“We know that out of province health services are one of the fastest growing parts of the health budget. The Auditor General has pointed out weaknesses in how we’ve managed these services and costs going back a number of years now but little has changed. Here we are now with costs still rising and proper supports like home care still lacking. We need a better approach to managing this important health service for Islanders,” says Stratford-Kinlock MLA and Opposition Health Critic James Aylward.

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