Liberal preoccupation with failed health scheme placing front line care at risk

July 6, 2014

(Sackville, NS) NDP Health critic Dave Wilson says attempts by the Liberals to salvage their failed health merger scheme are just making a bad situation worse. 

Wilson was commenting on Health Minister Leo Glavine’s appointment of an advisory panel to serve as a personal sounding board on District Health Authority (DHA) amalgamation. Glavine is also spending $45,000 to conduct focus groups and on-line surveys about the merger. These announcements came one week after Glavine admitted the Liberals “oversimplified” their health plan during the election and it would not reduce health administration spending as advertised.

“Right now the health minister is wasting a tremendous amount of resources on the Liberal scheme and he is not focused on what really matters – providing high quality health care,” said Wilson. “Minister Glavine should be working on adding more collaborative emergency centres and reducing wait times, instead he’s spending his days picking out new board room chairs and tables.”

Wilson also took issue with incorrect statements Premier Stephen McNeil made on Thursday, July 3, to justify the Liberal scheme. McNeil told to News 95.7 host Rick Howe that Nova Scotians are restricted in where they can obtain care within the province stating, “because you live in a particular district it should not prevent you from acquiring health care in another part of our province.” But currently, as the Department of Health and Wellness web site states, Nova Scotians are free to access care in any part of the province regardless of where they live.

“I’d like to know why the Premier is using inaccurate claims to try and justify a plan that has nothing to do with front line care,” said Wilson. “When it comes to health care, Nova Scotians expect honest answers from the Premier, not bad rhetoric.”

Documents obtained by the NDP in April show the Liberal Health merger plan will increase administrative cost at the expense of front line care in the transition year and for “years” after that. In Alberta a similar plan to amalgamate district health authorities cost close to $100 million.