Action for Health

A Strategic Plan for Nova Scotia

The Future of Healthcare

We’ve heard it over and over again. The message is clear - change is needed to provide better care for Nova Scotians and to support and respect the people who work in the health system.

Action for Health is our plan to achieve this, with investments in people, tools, technology, and infrastructure – over the short and long term.

It also provides solutions for a completely different kind of healthcare experience and health culture for Nova Scotia – one that is proactive and focused on people and patients. It will require a new kind of relationship between the traditional healthcare system, providers, patients, communities, and partners. A system where people’s wider needs are supported to address the root causes of poor health and avoid unnecessary hospital visits.

Action for Health is the first step in transforming health in Nova Scotia. It will not be easy. It will be expensive. And it will not happen overnight. But we are willing to do the work and make the investments needed to give Nova Scotians the health system they deserve. Our plan highlights many – but not all – of the actions that will be taken over the next four years.

At the end of this journey, we will have true health transformation – for our generation and those who follow.

Read the full strategic plan

Our Solutions for Healthcare

We are advancing six core solutions, each with its own objective for creating an efficient, modern, equitable, and respectful health ecosystem. The work, actions, and investments generated by these solutions will make an impact in the short and the long term.

See how we will measure and track our progress

This is a turning point for Nova Scotia. As we move from identifying problems to fixing them, I’m confident we are heading in the right direction.

~ Premier Tim Houston

Our Solutions for Heathcare

Solution One

Become a magnet for health providers

Our government will make Nova Scotia a sought-after place for health providers by offering a simple, streamlined recruitment experience that leads directly to jobs in healthy workplaces and a home in welcoming communities. In our vision, health providers from all communities are respected, valued, and heard.

What we will do:

  • Invest in education and training opportunities to ensure the health needs of communities are met
  • Increase supports for local recruitment efforts, showcasing Nova Scotia’s warm and welcoming culture
  • Streamline the recruitment experience to attract qualified health providers, including those from underrepresented groups
  • Understand and address racism, oppression and discrimination in recruitment and retention strategies
  • Accelerate and support the integration of qualified internationally educated and trained health providers
  • Accelerate investments in technology and digitization to ensure care teams are able to provide quality, people-centred care that is culturally specific
Solution One Actions
Healthcare worker with stethoscope

Solution Two

Provide the care Nova Scotians need and deserve

Our healthcare delivery across the continuum of care will be very different, as we embrace modern tools and technology, data and metrics, and leverage staff expertise and experience in order to give people compassionate, equitable and effective care - in the right place, at the right time, from the right care team.

What we will do:

  • Develop innovative primary healthcare models to deliver care when, where, and how it’s needed
  • Expand access to long-term and home care with investments in people, technology, and infrastructure
  • Improve the coordination of care services for Nova Scotians with complex needs
  • Implement innovative solutions to reduce surgical wait times, provide safe, quality care and achieve benchmarks
  • Expand virtual care to strengthen the system and improve access to appropriate care
Solution Two Actions
Two healthcare workers interact with technical equipment

Solution Three

Cultivate excellence on the frontlines

Our plan will build and empower connected care teams as respected entrepreneurs and innovators who have the information, technology, and tools they need to provide a high standard of care.

What we will do:

  • Invest in health equipment, technology, and infrastructure to support a safe, attractive, and healthy workplace
  • Increase professional development and practice supports
  • Increase the number of care teams working together to maximize resources and provide safe, quality care
  • Continue efforts to standardize and simplify how health providers work
  • Address barriers and optimize the ability of health providers to work to their full scope of practice
  • Ensure diversity, inclusion, and representation at all levels of the health system, including leadership, to generate a workforce that represents the people being served
  • Focus on keeping current healthcare workers through retention efforts and supports aimed at rebuilding the resilience of the health workforce
Solution Three Actions
Healthcare worker speaking with patient

Solution Four

Build in accountability at every level

Our transformed health system will be coordinated and equitable, with a shared understanding of expectations, roles, responsibilities, and success driving high performance. Transparency and openness will help Nova Scotians understand what’s happening and why decisions are being made.

What we will do:

  • Clearly articulate desired culture and expectations, and model behaviours that drive excellence at every level
  • Reduce red tape and duplication to direct more resources to quality patient care
  • Set clear and transparent metrics and standards for the planning and delivery of health services and publicly report on results
  • Improve public and provider access to information to ensure accessibility, a coordinated and equitable approach, and clear expectations
  • Improve coordination and collaboration across the health system to address and avoid gaps in service
Solution Four Actions
Doctor speaking with child about medication

Solution Five

Be responsive and resilient

We will invest in public health, research, preparedness, and emergency response to build a system that can weather ups and downs and will position us for a healthy future. More decisions will be made locally and will be focused on keeping Nova Scotians healthy.

What we will do:

  • Engage with, learn from, and collaborate with communities and support organizations to improve access to culturally appropriate services
  • Continuously advance the delivery of healthcare through research and learning by doing
  • Support the health and well-being of health providers
  • Ensure projects already in progress will meet the needs of a growing and changing population
  • Explore and implement innovative solutions to optimize resources and capacity while ensuring quality and safety
  • Strengthen the public health system so that we are better prepared to respond to future public health emergencies, including epidemics and pandemics
Solution Five Actions
Support staff standing in rows

Solution Six

Address the factors affecting health and well-being

In addressing long-standing barriers to better health, our government will support partnerships and collaboration. We will strengthen community-based primary care, mental health supports, public health and health promotion, while learning from and collaborating with diverse populations.

What we will do:

  • Partner with communities and empower Nova Scotians to improve our collective health and wellness
  • Build capacity with strategic investments in diverse communities and by partnering with community organizations to design culturally competent, appropriate, and safe health services
  • Enhance data collection to better understand the health of our communities to guide policy and investment decisions and support prevention efforts
  • Proactively address factors affecting health with accessible and comprehensive primary healthcare, public health and health promotion
  • Reduce gaps in access to care with strategic investments in addictions and mental health
  • Prioritize and collaborate across government to address the social determinants of health
Solution Six Actions
A healthcare worker taking a patients blood pressure

Measuring Success

The work to transform healthcare in Nova Scotia requires time, energy, and financial investment. Our government is committed to both short- and long-term solutions that will move us to an accessible, sustainable, people-centred, and outstanding system.

Measuring success is a key part of this work, and we will do so transparently, through performance measures that will be easily accessible to the public. Health and well-being will also be monitored over the long term to track changes in the overall health status of Nova Scotians.

We will ask ourselves tough questions and demand the truth on issues such as how many Nova Scotians are still seeking a primary care provider, how long people are waiting for certain surgeries, and the number of health providers who have been recruited to live and work here.

We know that Nova Scotians want tangible progress, and so do we.

Check back later as we post our progress over the coming months.