NDP demands explanation for Health budget underspending

May 3, 2016

Last night, through questions asked in the Health Department budget estimates session, the NDP learned that the Liberals have underspent the health budget by $45.8 million over two years.  This means the Liberals didn’t spend all the money they had allocated for health care.

The underspending comes at a time when the government has cut funding to mental health care organizations, and is sitting idly by while thousands of Nova Scotians can’t find a family doctor. Thousands more linger on wait lists for mental health care and home care.

“This is simply outrageous,” says NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “While groups like the Schizophrenia Society and the Eating Disorders Action Group had their funding cut, the Liberals have been holding back money that should have been invested in care for Nova Scotians.”

“Wait times are up 25% for community-based mental health care, and up as high as 50% for home care services,” says Dave Wilson, NDP Health Critic. “Instead of making sure Nova Scotians get the care they need, the Liberals are playing politics with the Health budget.”

In Question Period today, NDP Leader in the House, Marian Mancini, asked the Premier how he could justify not spending the full budgeted amount on health care:

“I ask the Premier, with wait times up, with ER closures up, with many Nova Scotians struggling to find a family doctor, why has his Government underspent on the health budget by more than $45 million over the last two years?”

The Premier did not answer the question.

Also in Health Department estimates, the NDP Caucus learned that the federal contribution to health care for this coming fiscal year is up by 5%, and yet the Liberals have created a flat line budget.