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(May 24, 2017) The Nova Scotia Association of Community Health Centres (NSACHC) today released the responses it has received from political parties regarding their commitment to important health and community priorities.
The parties’ responses address four key recommendations tabled by the NSACHC in April 2017. These recommendations would ensure that Nova Scotia residents have local access to team-based Community Health Centre services and programs, including access to timely care from family physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, counsellors and other care providers.
“We are pleased to see that all four major political parties officially recognize the value of Community Health Centres in Nova Scotia and are paying attention to the major gaps in funding and support that currently exist,” stated NSACHC Chair, Dr. Dorothy Barnard. “We look forward to working with the provincial government and all opposition parties following this month’s election to ensure that this growing consensus across political parties translates into the policy and funding needed to actually deliver the Community Health Centre services and programs that Nova Scotians want.”
Unlike other services within Nova Scotia’s health system, Community Health Centres do not currently receive core, annual operating funding from the provincial government for the integrated services and programs they deliver. As a result, Community Health Centres are faced with an ongoing financial crisis which affects their ability to meet local demand for health and social services. In many cases, communities are being left to fund their own health services and programs through local fundraising.
“Our province’s existing Community Health Centres are ready to quickly boost access to local health and social services if the provincial government would allow this to happen,” said Barnard. “Many other communities throughout the province are also asking for a new Community Health Centre and this is exactly the sort of local solution needed to make good on talk about investing in collaborative care here in Nova Scotia.”
While the association is encouraged by growing commitment from the political parties, it is also issuing some cautions. The association is deeply concerned that the Nova Scotia Government’s initial investments to date in collaborative care have not involved local communities and all funding has flowed exclusively through existing medical practices.
“Any further investment in collaborative care throughout Nova Scotia must involve local communities, it must build on existing community assets, and it must engage all provider groups that make up collaborative care teams, not only physicians. Otherwise, it is not collaborative care and it will not be properly attuned to the needs of Nova Scotians and their communities.”
The association is encouraging all Nova Scotians to learn more before voting in advance polls and on May 30th. Responses from all of the political parties and more information may be found at: www.nsachc.org/election2017
Dr. Dorothy Barnard
Chair – Nova Scotia Association of Community Health Centres