News Release Archive

The provincial government is increasing health care spending in
key areas to sustain and enhance services, while easing the pace
of health reform, Health Minister Bernie Boudreau announced

"This government is continuing with its commitment to provide
quality health care, and to the vision of health care renewal
expressed in Nova Scotia's Blueprint for Health System Reform,"
Mr. Boudreau said. "A fundamental part of the commitment is
ensuring realistic budgeting is in place to provide for the
health care needs of Nova Scotians."

Mr. Boudreau unveiled the direction for "the next phase of health
care renewal," a period spanning the next 18 months. He said it
will be a period of deliberate, managed change.

The minister highlighted the expanded health budget and his plan
for implementing health renewal.

"We needed to take immediate action to modernize the health care
system. We are now past the first stage of change, and can move
on to solidify and build on our successes to date at a
sustainable, appropriate pace."

An analysis of health care spending by the Departments of Health
and Finance along with Priorities and Planning determined
additional funding of some $65 million is required this year to
maintain and enhance new and existing services at a level that
meets the needs of Nova Scotians. The increase in funding has
been approved by Cabinet and is above and beyond the
appropriation in the budget. The Department of Health will
operate effectively within its newly expanded budget. Most of the
additional funds will be allocated to Home Care, Pharmacare,
physician medical payments and hospitals.

The government's commitment to a fully balanced budget will not
be compromised by additional health care spending. The increased
funding will come from other operations within government.

The second area of priority is the managed implementation of
health renewal, during a phase stretching over the next 18

Designation of hospitals, or the transfer of hospital governance
to regional health boards (RHBs), will proceed. Boards will
assume governance of most hospitals, with a few exceptions, on
either Oct. 1, 1996 or Jan. 1, 1997.

The four largest facilities that provide the most complex care,
the QEII, the Cape Breton Health Care Complex, the IWK-Grace and
the Nova Scotia Hospital, will not be transferred during the
18-month stage. In each case, boards at those facilities are in
the process of implementing business plans that have been
approved by government. The process will not be interrupted. As
well, governance is more complex at these facilities. Three of
the four facilities were created through recent mergers, and
three are also teaching hospitals.

At the end of the current fiscal year, March 31, 1997, regional
boards will begin to assume responsibility for delivery of
certain primary care services, specifically drug dependency and
public health. To help ease the transfer process, a Primary Care
Transition Team will be established. The team, made up of
representatives from regional health boards and the Department of
Health, will help to lay the groundwork for the next priority,
which is the transfer of Home Care Nova Scotia to the regional
health boards.

To help manage change in hospitals, an ongoing working group is
being established. The working group includes chairs and CEOs of
the regional health boards and the four hospital boards, plus
senior Health Department staff. The group's mandate is to deliver
a rational and coordinated approach to hospital-based care across
the province.

With regional health boards assuming significant responsibilities
over the next 18 months, time is needed for their management
teams to gain experience with primary care management and
hospital governance. The formal establishment of community health
boards will be delayed to ensure a regional foundation is firmly
in place.

"We remain totally committed to community-based input in our
health care decision-making. We hope to benefit from the varied
experience gained by RHBs as they develop approaches to community
involvement and advice. During the 18 months we will be learning
and preparing for community health boards, to get it right,"
Mr. Boudreau said.

Mr. Boudreau said the government is committed to quality health
care and to sound management. "We are determined to develop and
sustain a health care system second to none in Canada and the


Contact: Lori MacLean  902-424-5025

trp                   August 15, 1996 - 11:00 a.m.