Please respond to these important questions.
Our question is, if elected, what action will your government take to ensure that all Nova Scotians are guaranteed safe and timely access to essential cancer care?
Your response will be circulated to cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors in Nova Scotia and included on our website at www.survivornet.ca. Links to your responses will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Response from candidate:
The general approach of Greens to the health care system is to trust the professionals and leave politics out of it whenever possible. We have a big-picture approach to health and medicine.
Our platform shows our plans and priorities:
Three Pillars of Health Care
First Pillar: Competence
The first pillar of the delivery of services is the expertise and commitment of the physicians, professional staff, maintenance, and clerical staff. The top-down approach of the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and the Department of Health have undermined the autonomy of essential workers and have had a negative impact on morale. In past years, reforms and changes
have been made without true consultation. The Green Party of Nova Scotia rejects this type of top-down approach and will sit down with professionals, staff, and patients (first person) when planning services. Staff and physicians need to be supported in their work as opposed to being under constant pressure. The leaders need to promote a truly collaborative philosophy of care
so that staff can have the time and energy to serve their patients.
Second Pillar: First-Person Voice
The patients need to be offered a place to voice their concerns and suggestions on how services are delivered. The staff holds the scientific knowledge, the patient holds the knowledge of their experience. There is growing evidence that when patients feel they can collaborate in their care, healing and recovery can be enhanced.
Third Pillar: Interactions Between Services
The interactions between services need to permeate all aspects of services. The Green Party supports navigator services to help patients transition from one service into another.
Public Health in Nova Scotia has done a remarkable job in its response to the pandemic. However, the federal public health agency and all provincial public health agencies did not at first fully evaluate the impact of the pandemic and did not respond with the right approach. This slow reaction is mostly due to budget cuts. It is obvious that more investment in Public Health is necessary so that it can properly fulfill its role.
One of the most pressing problems our Healthcare system is facing is the chronic lack of access to a family doctor.
There are more people on the waitlist for a family physician in Nova Scotia than when the pandemic began in March 2020. This is simply not acceptable and may be a detriment in attracting interprovincial migration just at the moment when Nova Scotia’s population is growing. This demands strong, bold, coordinated, and collaborative efforts, exactly the type of approach the health care staff can do. It is the role of the Department of Health and of NSHA to promote and sustain these efforts in a practical way.
Recently, family physicians have been trained to work in interdisciplinary teams. The Clinic of the future, and the present, is an interdisciplinary team: two or more physicians, a nurse or nurse practitioner, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, mental health and addiction clinician, and others. This Clinic provides services in the evenings and, by partnering with other
clinics in the same area, on weekends. This ensures a continuity of care and prevents unnecessary visits to the Emergency Room. The ER does then what it is best at doing: emergent and urgent care and screening for admission. Dalhousie University has recently increased the number of admissions into medicine. We should explore the possibilities of further increasing admission into medicine. Many Nova Scotian students who are not admitted to Dalhousie choose to study abroad and then continue their careers elsewhere. Nova Scotia should be able to attract and retain local and international medical students.
Equity in Access to Appropriate Healthcare
Many people living in Nova Scotia do not have access to culturally or identity-relevant healthcare. Access to appropriate healthcare is only available to some, and this must change. Creating a resilient and just healthcare system that looks at comprehensive and preventative well-being requires that we are providing appropriate healthcare for all. Indigenous peoples,
Black Nova Scotians, French speakers, newcomers, migrant workers, 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples, women, people with disabilities, and those living in poverty are only some of the people experiencing unequal access to quality healthcare.
The Green Party of Nova Scotia will:
- Engage in consultations with staff, physicians, and citizens when planning new services or modifying existing based on respect and participatory democracy;
- Increase collaboration and transition between health services by promoting the training and hiring of navigators
- Make the recruitment of physicians a priority by promoting collaboration between local hospitals, municipalities, not for profit agencies, and having a clear recruitment strategy
- Increase the number of admissions into medicine at Dalhousie University
- Increase the number of admissions in nurse practitioner programs
- Promote interdisciplinary approaches by providing professional services like nursing, mental health and addictions services, physiotherapy, etc. to medical clinics
- Improve access to health services in French
- Improve access to health services in Mi’kmaq
- Improve access to translators for health services for people who do not speak English
- Provide incentives to medical clinics so they can open on evenings and weekends
- Increase the budget of Public Health so it can fulfill its prevention mandate
- Invest in well-coordinated mental health and addiction services and improve the transition between services including supportive housing services
- Invest in regional mobile mental health crisis intervention services
- Improve access to mental health services for people living with disabilities, 2SLGBTQQIA+, BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Colour), newcomers, migrants, and other marginalized peoples
- Increase access to appropriate reproductive healthcare throughout the province, particularly for survivors of sexual assault and gender diverse peoples
- Develop comprehensive strategies to provide relevant and appropriate mental health care and treatment for survivors of sexual and domestic assault
- Eliminate the cost of birth control for anyone seeking it
- Mandate ongoing cultural sensitivity and anti-oppression training for all healthcare professionals, ensuring that they are well educated on treating 2SLGBTQQIA+ patients
- Increase availability and accessibility of gender-affirming care
- Require that mental health professionals are trained in climate grief and ecological anxiety
- Immediately implement a universal dental care and pharmacare program
- Maintain telehealth and online access to health services after the pandemic
- Drastically reduce ambulance fees, and work towards eliminating them with systems in place that will dissuade people from taking advantage of emergency services
- Provide universal access to fertility services for any who need them regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation and work with healthcare practitioners and 2SLGBTQQIA+ and women’s organizations to create the policy framework for universal access
- Work with Public Health, Healthcare practitioners, and Lyme Disease advocates to create a collaborative care plan to ensure adequate care for people at all stages of Lyme disease and proper prevention through instating tick testing and upholding standards of practice for diagnosing and treating Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases
We realize that this doesn’t perfectly answer your question, and covers a lot of other ground, but we wanted to share with you how Greens approach health and medicine. It’s best to trust the professionals.
Thanks for reaching out to the Green Party of NS, be well.
Nova Scotia Green Party