05 Apr 4/5 Media Release: Health Network Welcomes New Budget: Still Much More to Be Done for Public Health Care

Halifax, NS – The Nova Scotia Citizen’s Health Care Network is pleased with the provincial budget tabled yesterday in the legislature. The government has provided funding for key initiatives to give Nova Scotians better public health care. Universal dental care was extended for children from age 10 to 13, insulin pumps will be funded for children aged 19 and under, there are new funds for an eating disorders program at the IWK in Halifax, and the budget expands mental health funding.

“The Health Network has long called for dental care to be included under the Medicare umbrella, and for children in particular. These changes will extend dental coverage to 30,000 kids. It’s great news,” says James Hutt, provincial coordinator of the Health Network. “We hope that dental care will be progressively expanded to cover 16 year-olds.”

The Mental Health and Addictions Strategy will receive an additional $2.5 million in the 2013-14 budget. While a positive step, more is needed in order to provide the level of care Nova Scotians require.

“Public mental health services are lacking in this province, and nationally. It is encouraging that the government has taken action on this and is investing in mental health and addictions,” says Hutt. “We call on the province to continue strengthening and extending this needed program.”

The Health Network had previously called on the government to invest $40 million in new community health centres; however no new funding was included in the budget. The Network applauds the government’s increased support for home care, although larger investments are needed.

“The government has been proud of the collaborative emergency centres they opened, and they are a step in the right direction. But for the tens of thousands of Nova Scotians without access to primary care, investing in community health centres is the best approach. We were hoping to see more in this budget,” says Lee Seymour, chair of the Health Network.

Seymour concluded: “This budget makes some progress but we still have much work to do to protect, strengthen and extend public health care here in Nova Scotia.”