I don’t think I can name a person in my sphere of family, friends or acquaintances that have not been touched by cancer. My father died at age 68 from brain cancer that followed lung cancer he managed to survive. I think about how the number of people contracting and dying from cancers have increased in my lifetime. It’s shocking. I then think about the things in our environment that have also increased and can see a relationship forming there.
Toxic chemicals in our land, air, water, food, clothing, cosmetics, homes and workplaces.
Stress to keep up with living expenses and family obligations.
I honestly believe that our lifestyles are a contributing factor to this growing problem.
I see how our environment and planet are suffering the consequences of our unsustainable lifestyle and I understand our own health will never be well while the planet is not. That relationship is intrinsic.
I am a Nova Scotian without a doctor. That has forced me to be exceptionally aware of how important it is to take care of my own health. Alternative medicine, eating right for my blood type, and growing my own food have proven to be an affordable, non toxic, noninvasive means to increasing my personal wellbeing.
If and when a Green Party is elected into government, or at the very least our policies are adopted by other parties, (and I do feel this will become a necessity sooner rather than later), their entire philosophy of our lives being an holistic experience that starts with our relationship to our environment that then flows into our food sources, clean land air and water, education that spans our lifetime, guaranteed income, affordable housing, self-sufficient communities will all be responsible in seeing a decrease in many illnesses people are now suffering with. Each component of our lives is linked to the environment in a way that contributes to our health and happiness.
While medicine is not in my wheelhouse, I fit well with the Green parties design taken in part from our 2017 platform that would provide:
- first line affordable medications
- support inter-professional health care through providing and networking physiotherapists, dieticians, nutritionists, nurse practitioners, etc., reducing the burden on doctors and averting wait times
- employ patient navigators to facilitate timely access to mental health and addictions care
- regulate the responsible use of marijuana once federally legalized and ensure it is available for medical purposes
- provide community-based end-of-life care
- 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
- ensure the development of multi-level Long Term Care facilities to decrease the current cruel practice of separating couples who have different care needs
- reduce administrative burden in health care
- promoting wellness means supporting people to take active, lifelong measures to stay as healthy as possible
I hope this synopsis of our policies and philosophy is helpful in answering your questions.
Thank you for asking about the Green Party and if elected I certainly would be interested in an ongoing dialogue for creating a healthier place for all of us to live and how best to support those of us that are currently struggling with cancer.
All the best,
Green Party candidate for Queens-Shelburne
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.
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?
Healthcare is the number four issue (behind education, labour relations and balanced books) on the minds of NS voters.
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?
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?
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.