The Canadian Medical Association Journal published research in 2012 that showed one in ten Canadians report they skip doses or decide not to fill prescriptions because of cost, with the second highest incidence of cost nonadherence happening in the Atlantic provinces. If elected to government, what will your party do to make prescription medications more affordable?
It will be a constant battle to keep the price of prescription medications as affordable as possible. The work being done by all of Canada’s premiers to have governments collaborate to bring the cost down has great promise, and Jamie Baillie would want to champion that work. The outgoing government missed an opportunity to bring people into more regular contact with their pharmacists by failing to expand their scope of service, as has been done in other provinces. In the long term, this will likely lead to pharmacies in smaller centres closing or reducing hours, which will be a great impediment to people. We would fix that, which has the side benefit of controlling health costs better, freeing-up resources for better care.
If elected to government, will your party change MSI regulations to cover the cost of treatment and pressure garments necessary to treat lymphedema?
Given the prevalence of lymphedema amongst those who have received treatment for breast cancer, and the fact that we can achieve better outcomes by making services more accessible, it is simply impossible to accept the current MSI classification. We plan to create a number of Community Care Centres to bring important health and other services to people and make them more accessible.
A key element of ensuring timely treatment for a Canadian cancer patient is ensuring they have access to the medications they need at the time they need them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in Nova Scotia. If elected to government, will you commit to ensuring that all cancer patients in Nova Scotia receive timely access to medications at the time they need it?
One of the horrible aspects of dealing with a cancer diagnosis is delay, of any kind, while a horrible life threatening thing is growing inside your own body or when symptoms of the disease of side effects from treatment are sapping the body. We will work with you to identify the delays in getting medications and treatments to improve outcomes and make the approach to this disease more effective and humane. Because we are committed to redirecting resources to front line care, we expect to have capacity to improve the way we do things in health.
If elected to government, how will your party ensure that all hospital emergency rooms remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
Having emergency treatment accessible when something goes horribly wrong is essential. The best solution available involves deploying resources more strategically thereby allowing the most ERs to remain open longer, making services more accessible on a community level through, for example, Community Care Centres so more people can get in to see help earlier, and having a responsive near-emergency and emergency system so people are encouraged to pick up the phone sooner.
Is your party in favour of maintaining the same number of health districts in the province? If not, please explain how you would modify the number of health districts and what is the rationale for this policy?
We have far too many health boards for a province our size, which means multiple CEOs, vice-presidents and other senior administrators, plus all the structure around them. We would reduce that to 3, recognizing that health care delivery at the IWK and outside of Halifax has challenges that differ from those in CDHA. The rationale is simple: it isn’t right to spend money on administration that should be spent on care. Doing things differently means being willing to take a fresh look so that out limited resources can be used to provide the best health outcomes possible for our citizens.
Some resist, arguing there will be disruption, but the change will be to administration NOT to front line services.
Every cent saved will be reinvested in health care.
A more significant transfer of resources to the front lines of health care delivery will come from accepting all of the recommendation of the Ernst & Young Report. The current government’s decision, under pressure from a few of their key backers, not to accept several recommendations meant that tens of millions of dollars a year that could now be funding patient care and preventative programs has been and will be wasted until somebody fixes this. A government has to decide what the priorities are, and our decision will be very different.
These reforms are a vital part of Change that Works, which is the name of our platform, our motto and an ethic by which a Jamie Baillie PC Government will approach governance, including improving our health delivery.