Liberals should release agreement on health care funding

April 12, 2017

For Immediate Release

HALIFAX – The NDP is calling on the McNeil Liberals to release the details of the bilateral agreement between the provincial and federal government on health care funding. The McNeil Liberals announced this bilateral agreement on December 23 and it took effect April 1, but Nova Scotians have still not seen the terms of the agreement. At the Public Accounts Committee today, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Treasury said that the public will be able to see the agreement when the federal government releases it.

“Lack of information seems to be a pattern with the Liberals – the public doesn’t know when they can expect to be able to access primary care, the Department of Health doesn’t know how much collaborative care teams will cost, and now we have to wait for the federal government to see what Nova Scotia will get in health funding,” said NDP Health Critic Dave Wilson. “The provincial government should release the terms of the agreement so Nova Scotians can judge the agreement for themselves.”

Before the funding agreement was reached, the federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, said that the federal government was focused on making sure “investments in health go to health.” Under the McNeil Liberals, the provincial budget for health care and hospitals has repeatedly been underspent.

In 2014-15, the health budget was underspent by $22 million; in 2016-17, it was underspent by $23.9 million. The Liberals have also significantly underspent hospital infrastructure budgets. Across three budgets, there has been $146 million budgeted for hospital infrastructure, but only $72.6 million spent. That means that less than half of the money budgeted has been spent. The June 2016 report by the NS Auditor General report that at least $85 million is needed just to meet urgent hospital infrastructure needs.

“The McNeil Liberals didn’t invest in health care and weakened our negotiating position for a new health funding agreement. Now, we have a deal that will make it more difficult to meet the needs of our aging population,” said Wilson. “With wait times up, ER closures up, and many Nova Scotians struggling to find a family doctor, it seems like on every front in our health care system, the McNeil government’s approach has been a failure.”

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For more information please contact Kaley Kennedy at (902) 229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.