Wilson: Glavine out of line with health comments in community newspaper

February 23, 2014

(Sackville, NS) NDP Health critic Dave Wilson says Liberal Health Minister Leo Glavine needs a reality check on the barriers to health Nova Scotians face after reading a column the Minister recently penned for a community newspaper.

In the column, published February 6th in the Kings County Register, Glavine suggests if Nova Scotians were healthier it would reduce the financial burden on the province. He also dedicates two full paragraphs to discussing what it would be like if patients were treated more like people looking to take out bank loans. Glavine states:

“Imagine if healthcare worked like banks. Patients would have to prove they practice a healthy lifestyle before receiving assistance. They would have to prove they practice the basic tenets of proper eating and exercise. Such a system would save money for those who have not abused their health and need medical care.”

Wilson says for most people poor health isn’t a personal choice, as Glavine suggests, but a product of persons’ life circumstances. He found the Minster’s comments unfortunate and hopes they aren’t indicative of a new direction the Liberals intend to take healthcare.

“People need to see a nurse or a doctor when they visit the emergency room. They don’t need to complete a credit check application,” said Wilson.

He added, “the Minister’s comments don’t reflect what evidence tells us we should be focusing on when it comes to improving the health of Nova Scotians. We know that in order to have a healthier population we need to be focusing on addressing the many determinants of health like education, income and social status.”

Wilson says he was also shocked by Glavine suggesting Nova Scotians put their family vacations on hold if it means being less of a burden on the system.

Glavine said, “Then there are people who are cognizant abusers of the system. They accept government assistance, yet still have money to travel. These people are abusing their neighbours’ hard-earned money. The goal of assistance programs is to help people out of a difficult time, not give people free money.”

Wilson says Glavine’s comments are out of line and hopes the Minister will apologize.

“I don’t know too many people receiving government assistance who can afford to travel so I think the Minister is wrong,” said Wilson. “Perhaps he should take more time to meet with people who are receiving provincial assistance so he can gain a better understanding of the challenges they face. Right now he seems out-of-touch with Nova Scotians struggling to make ends meet.”