08 Feb Media Release: Pilot projects step forward, concern over ‘alternative care options’

Friday, 08 February 2008

Pilot projects step forward, concern over ‘alternative care options’

Halifax, NS – The Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network is pleased to see provincial and federal cooperation on health care wait times in orthopedics and diagnostics, however concerns remain over the concept of wait time guarantees as private clinics may be used to fulfill these measures.

“The government’s proposed province-wide information network on orthopedics is a step in the right direction,” says Kyle Buott, Coordinator of the Health Network. “However, we remain concerned that the government will plan to use private clinics for surgeries instead of investing in shorter wait times in the public system because of the deputy ministers comments on contracting surgical services to Scotia Surgery.”

Improving access to diagnostic tests and assisting doctors in prescribing the right form of test for patients is also a good step forward but concerns remain.

“It is important to ensure that wait times are decreased through proper funding of public health care programs in all areas not one or two aspects of the health care system while you leave other parts underfunded and understaffed,” says Buott. “A better option would be to look at examples like the Alberta Hip and Knee Replacement Project which dramatically cut wait times by centralizing wait lists while maintaining patient choice.”

The federal government’s media release states the province will test ‘alternative care options when wait times are exceeded.’

“The government needs to outline exactly what they mean by ‘alternative care options’ and assure the public that this does not mean procedures will be done in private, for-profit clinics which endanger the accessibility and universality of our public health care system,” says Buott.

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For more information please contact:

Kyle Buott
Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network
Work – (902) 406-9422
Cell – (902) 478-0239

About the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network:

Formed in 1996, the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network’s goal is to stop the privatization of the public health care system, ensure high levels of care, and create a forum for people and communities to discuss issues in health care.

The Network is a coalition of community groups, organized labour, faith groups and individuals dedicated to protecting and advancing public health care to include services like pharmacare, dental care and long-term and home care.

The Network is political but non-partisan and receives no government funding.