Health minister visits Pictou County on provincial health authority tour

Amanda Jess
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NEW GLASGOW – Orthopedic services and continuing care were two of the topics discussed at roundtable meetings between health care professionals and the provincial Department of Health on Tuesday.

Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine made a trip to Pictou County as part of his tour of district health authorities throughout the province.

“It’s an opportunity to meet with the health board and explain the provincial plan that we’ll be bringing in over the course of the next year,” Glavine explained. “It’s an opportunity as well to take a look at the facilities in all of these areas and gain insight into how health care is being delivered and an opportunity to do a great deal of listening and learning what some of the challenges are in each of the districts.”

As the province expands the orthopedic program, Glavine said the Aberdeen Hospital will play a significant role and will get an opportunity to grow locally.

Nursing homes and continuing care facilities were also among the themes at the meetings earlier this week, including a high rate of dementia and frailty, requiring higher levels of care.

“That really falls right into a refocus of the continuing care strategy and a new dementia plan for the province that we’re hoping definitely has a potential to be a lead in the country.”

While campaigning before the election, the Liberal Party committed to reducing the health authorities from nine – with the IWK Health Centre a separate authority – down to two. Starting in 2015, the provincial government’s plan is to have one provincial health authority, divided into four regional management zones, and one for the IWK.

The province is looking for a higher degree of shared services and collaboration, Glavine said.

He noted that specialty clinicians from Truro were visiting the Aberdeen Hospital during his visit.

“This is where we want to move the health care system to that highest level of integration of services.”

Glavine also noted that while visiting the facility, the lack of good flow was not lost on him.

The design work for the upgraded emergency room is underway, and Glavine said it’s a project the provincial government continues to be committed to.

“That process will continue and we will not put any damper on that,” he said.

The department wasn’t able to say when the upgrades would occur as they haven’t received the finished design, and don’t know the level of work that will need to be done.

He said it’s important to consider how the work can be done to ensure health care services can still be delivered as the construction happens.

The province’s last tour stop was on Wednesday, visiting the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority.

They’ll be releasing a document stating what they heard in each location and asking for public feedback.

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda 

Organizations: Aberdeen Hospital, IWK Health Centre, Liberal Party Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority

Geographic location: Pictou County

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