Are the Liberals handing the district health authority transition team a blank cheque?

May 28, 2014

(Halifax, NS) NDP Health Critic Dave Wilson is asking Liberal Health Minister Leo Glavine to disclose the budget for district health authority (DHA) amalgamation.

 Wilson raised the issue today after learning the Liberal government announced its transition team to implement DHA amalgamation by April, 2015.

 “If the Minister is asking this group of professionals to come up with a plan to amalgamate nine district health authorities into one, surely he has given them a budget to work with,” said Wilson. “It would be completely irresponsible for any government to embark on such a significant project without first approving a ballpark figure. I find it hard to believe Leo Glavine would just hand the transition team a blank cheque and ask them to come up with a plan.”

Wilson says documents the NDP obtained via a Freedom of Information request in April suggest the financial components of DHA amalgamation have been approved. The government briefing note also indicates there will be added costs associated with DHA restructuring, not just in the transition year, but for years after that.

 The documents can be viewed here.

“According to today’s government press release the consolidation of DHAs will be complete by April of 2015, that’s just 10 months away,” said Wilson. “At this point, if Leo Glavine is unable or unwilling to say how much his health care scheme will cost, then Nova Scotians have cause for concern given what happened in New Brunswick and Alberta.”

In recent years both New Brunswick and Alberta amalgamated its district health authorities into a central super board. In Alberta, the transition costs approached $100 million and in New Brunswick administration costs increased after amalgamation.