Province launches strategic plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia

The plan to make good on election promises

The government released Action for Health, a strategic plan to address recent and long-standing problems in acute and primary care, long-term care, addictions and mental health and the factors that affect the well-being of Nova Scotians every day. 

“The message we’ve heard over and over again is clear – change is needed to provide better health and better healthcare for Nova Scotians and to support and respect the people who work in the system,” said Premier Tim Houston today, April 22. “This is a turning point for Nova Scotia. As we move from identifying problems to fixing them, I am confident we are heading in the right direction because we are guided by input from those who know the system best.”

The plan is focused on creating a system where Nova Scotians can access world-class healthcare in a timely manner and health providers are respected, valued and heard. It commits to improving diversity and equity throughout the system.

Action for Health is the Province’s response to the Speak Up For Healthcare Tour – listening sessions with health leaders and providers held last fall – and feedback from Nova Scotians on doorsteps, over coffee and in boardrooms during the past few years.

These sessions identified three core issues:
— recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals
— access to care
— outdated infrastructure, both physical and digital.

To fix the problems in those areas, the plan presents six broad solutions and the objectives and actions required for each. The Province will:
— become a magnet for health providers
— provide the care Nova Scotians need and deserve
— cultivate excellence on the frontlines
— build in accountability at every level
— be responsive and resilient
— address the factors affecting health and well-being.

Action for Health is available at:

The government has already taken action on improving healthcare by: 
– offering jobs to all graduating nurses in Nova Scotia and developing a nursing mentorship program
— opening urgent treatment centres in North Sydney and Parrsboro
— adding new vehicles and staff to double patient transfers and enable paramedics to focus on emergencies
— expanding virtual care to Nova Scotians on the Need a Family Practice registry
— investing $57 million to attract and retain more people to work in continuing care, including providing free tuition for more than 2,000 continuing care assistant students over the next two years, and to open beds more quickly to seniors
— increasing wages of continuing care assistants in the publicly funded continuing care sector by up to 23 per cent
— launching a recruitment campaign to attract healthcare professionals and creating a team of navigators to connect healthcare professionals with the information they need to support their move to Nova Scotia
— opening a new recovery support centre in Dartmouth for people seeking help with substance use or gambling
— opening the province’s first mental health acute day hospital at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.

“I am encouraged the provincial government made it a priority to speak directly to healthcare workers in order to start putting in place real solutions to the issues facing our healthcare system. I am very proud of my role as part of the team at Digby General Hospital. We are hopeful this work to improve healthcare will allow us to provide enhanced care to our patients and the communities we serve.”
     – Mallory Francis, licensed practical nurse, Digby General Hospital

Quick Facts:
— the Province’s 2022-23 budget is focused on solutions for healthcare and increases healthcare spending by $413.4 million to $5.7 billion
— measuring success is a key part of Action for Health; the government will do so transparently, through performance measures that will be easily accessible to the public at:
— feedback from the Speak Up for Healthcare Tour included 2,391 online forum submissions, 254 listening sessions, five roundtable discussions, 67 video pitches to the Premier, more than 200 comment cards and more than 60 email submissions

Additional Resources:
Recruitment campaign targeting healthcare professionals:

Mandate letter of the Minister of Health and Wellness:

Mandate letter of the Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care:

Mandate letter of the Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health:

Mandate letter of the Minister responsible for the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment:

A summary of what was heard during the Speak Up for Healthcare Tour:

Source: Release

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