Torin Buzek (Green Party) Response

Response: 

Thanks for reaching out to me and asking these very important questions.

The subject of cancer hits very close to home. The majority of my family on my father’s side have had cancer, some dying from it, some surviving. My father has had recurring prostate cancer for over 10 years now. Nova Scotia also has the highest cancer rates in the country.

While the subject is dear to me, Health Care is not my area of expertise so I’ll draw from our party’s policy documents.

1)

The Green Party will:

Launch research and feasibility studies to examine provincial pharmacare coverage and a province wide health formulary so that first line
affordable medications are available to all Nova Scotians

2)

1. To achieve the goal of healthy communities and sustainable health care services the Green Party will work to:

1.1 increase financial support and incentives for the collaborative practice model: multidisciplinary clinics and practices that team doctors with nurses, nurse practitioners, dieticians, psychologists, counselors, physiotherapists and other allied health care providers

1.1.1 increase funding to Primary Health Care and Emergency Health Services in the province and ensure implementation of over capacity protocols for Emergency Rooms

1.2 complete assessments to identify focus areas to target with an increase in the budget of the Department of Health Promotion and Protection;

1.2.1 the high cancer rate in Nova Scotia must be addressed

1.3 create broad incentives for the establishment of community-based nonprofit long-term care facilities to displace profit as the prime motivator in long-term care facilities

1.3.1 ensure that new facilities are being planned ahead of time to deal with the increasing elderly population before demand problems develop

1.4 ensure development of multi-level Long-Term Care facilities to decrease the current cruel practice of separating couples who have different care needs

1.5 legislate full and open disclosure of all public-private partnership agreements for future development of health care facilities

1.5.1 ensure all future health care buildings meet the Green Hospital Checklist proposed by the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care

1.6 ensure that the composition of hospital boards adequately represents health care professionals to empower health practitioners at the local level and on the front lines to be more involved in decision making

1.7 provide financial incentives to encourage health practitioners to practice in underserviced communities, including partial or full forgiving of student loans based on length of service.

3)

Yes

4)

The Green Party of Nova Scotia views health and wellness in a broad sense, emphasizing healthy communities, healthy lifestyles and a healthy environment, not just health care. Strategies to reduce toxins in our environment, address the social determinants of health, and encourage healthy lifestyle choices are important components of the Green Party’s health plan.

The health of Nova Scotians is not only dependent on the health services they receive but on social policy that addresses poverty, provides for affordable housing and nutritious food, water and energy security, available employment, and accessible education.

Health promotion is fiscally prudent and will lead to improved wellness and more affordable health care for Nova Scotians. This, in turn, will lower the cost of health care for all Nova Scotians.

The Green Party strongly supports publicly funded health care, which should include both the removal of the financial barrier for the patient, and the reorganization and revamping of the health care social support system.

The Green Party recognizes that in spite of large annual monetary commitments Nova Scotians are still facing several significant challenges to accessing the health care they need and want in their communities. Lack of family physicians, emergency room closures and long wait times, and high drug costs are all crucial challenges facing the health care system in Nova Scotia. The Green Party offers a vision to reform the current system, to tackle these issues and plan for viable, sustainable health care in Nova Scotia for generations to come.

I hope this answers your questions. If you have more questions or would like clarification on any of my answers please contact me again.

Thanks,

Torin.

Questions: 

Dear Candidate:

Over 202,000 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer every year, including an estimated 6,000 new cases diagnosed in Nova Scotia, with approximately 2,700 dying of cancer. Clearly, this life-threatening illness affects entire communities, especially families, friends and co-workers.

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) is a national network of patients, families, survivors, friends, families, community partners and sponsors. Its mission is to work together by taking action to promote the very best standard of care, support, follow up and quality of life for patients and survivors. It aims to educate the public and policy makers about cancer survivorship and encourage research on ways to alleviate barriers to optimal cancer care in Canada.

The government of Nova Scotia has an important role to play in making sure that everyone diagnosed with cancer has timely access to cancer care and essential medical services as well as access to emergency rooms and the treatment and medications they need. There are 106,000 people in Nova Scotia without a family doctor, and the shortage is going to worsen as a growing number of physicians near retirement, recruitment levels are dwindling and health needs are becoming more and more complex (http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1463162-doctorsns-says-we-need-100-new-doctors-a-year-for-10-years).

We invite you to respond to the following questions related to cancer care and healthcare in Nova Scotia. Your responses will be circulated to cancer patients and survivors in Nova Scotia and posted on our website, www.survivornet.ca and on our social media.

Question 1:

The Canadian Medical Association Journal published research in 2014 that showed one in twelve Canadians report they skip doses or decide not to fill prescriptions because of cost.
If elected to government, what will your party do to make prescription medications more affordable?

Question 2:

Healthcare is the number four issue (behind education, labour relations and balanced books) on the minds of NS voters.
If elected:

a) How will your government improve the delivery of cancer care and other healthcare services in NS?
b) Will your government restructure healthcare delivery, and if so, how?
c) How will your government ensure that cancer patients receive the services they need, including home care, financial assistance during recovery and for long-term side effects of cancer and/or treatment?

Question 3:

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. As of January 31, 2015 Nova Scotia drug plans covered 23.5% of the 464 new drugs approved by Health Canada from 2004-2013 and the average number days to list the new drug covered under each public drug plan was 681(Coverage for new medicines in Canada’s public drug plans, 2015, Mark Rovere and Dr. Brett J. Skinner).

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?

Question 4:

Numbers released by Statistics Canada indicate that 11.3 per cent of the population, or just over 100,000 people, did not have access to a health-care provider.

If elected, how will your government ensure that all Nova Scotians have access to a health-care provider?

We thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Response: 

Thanks for reaching out to me and asking these very important questions.

The subject of cancer hits very close to home. The majority of my family on my father’s side have had cancer, some dying from it, some surviving. My father has had recurring prostate cancer for over 10 years now. Nova Scotia also has the highest cancer rates in the country.

While the subject is dear to me, Health Care is not my area of expertise so I’ll draw from our party’s policy documents.

1)

The Green Party will:

Launch research and feasibility studies to examine provincial pharmacare coverage and a province wide health formulary so that first line
affordable medications are available to all Nova Scotians

2)

1. To achieve the goal of healthy communities and sustainable health care services the Green Party will work to:

1.1 increase financial support and incentives for the collaborative practice model: multidisciplinary clinics and practices that team doctors with nurses, nurse practitioners, dieticians, psychologists, counselors, physiotherapists and other allied health care providers

1.1.1 increase funding to Primary Health Care and Emergency Health Services in the province and ensure implementation of over capacity protocols for Emergency Rooms

1.2 complete assessments to identify focus areas to target with an increase in the budget of the Department of Health Promotion and Protection;

1.2.1 the high cancer rate in Nova Scotia must be addressed

1.3 create broad incentives for the establishment of community-based nonprofit long-term care facilities to displace profit as the prime motivator in long-term care facilities

1.3.1 ensure that new facilities are being planned ahead of time to deal with the increasing elderly population before demand problems develop

1.4 ensure development of multi-level Long-Term Care facilities to decrease the current cruel practice of separating couples who have different care needs

1.5 legislate full and open disclosure of all public-private partnership agreements for future development of health care facilities

1.5.1 ensure all future health care buildings meet the Green Hospital Checklist proposed by the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care

1.6 ensure that the composition of hospital boards adequately represents health care professionals to empower health practitioners at the local level and on the front lines to be more involved in decision making

1.7 provide financial incentives to encourage health practitioners to practice in underserviced communities, including partial or full forgiving of student loans based on length of service.

3)

Yes

4)

The Green Party of Nova Scotia views health and wellness in a broad sense, emphasizing healthy communities, healthy lifestyles and a healthy environment, not just health care. Strategies to reduce toxins in our environment, address the social determinants of health, and encourage healthy lifestyle choices are important components of the Green Party’s health plan.

The health of Nova Scotians is not only dependent on the health services they receive but on social policy that addresses poverty, provides for affordable housing and nutritious food, water and energy security, available employment, and accessible education.

Health promotion is fiscally prudent and will lead to improved wellness and more affordable health care for Nova Scotians. This, in turn, will lower the cost of health care for all Nova Scotians.

The Green Party strongly supports publicly funded health care, which should include both the removal of the financial barrier for the patient, and the reorganization and revamping of the health care social support system.

The Green Party recognizes that in spite of large annual monetary commitments Nova Scotians are still facing several significant challenges to accessing the health care they need and want in their communities. Lack of family physicians, emergency room closures and long wait times, and high drug costs are all crucial challenges facing the health care system in Nova Scotia. The Green Party offers a vision to reform the current system, to tackle these issues and plan for viable, sustainable health care in Nova Scotia for generations to come.

I hope this answers your questions. If you have more questions or would like clarification on any of my answers please contact me again.

Thanks,

Torin.