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Nova Scotia Election: Tracking party promises on health care

Here's what each party is promising Nova Scotians on health care.
Here's what each party is promising Nova Scotians on health care. CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

EDITOR’S NOTE: Throughout the 2017 election Global News is tracking the promises each party makes on education, health care, infrastructure, transparency, budgets, diversity, and more. The stories will be updated as parties roll out their promises.

Health care has become one of the most prominent issues on this election’s campaign trail. The promises have been wide ranging and diverse.

The Liberals’ big election promise during the 2013 election was to provide every family in the province with a doctor. During their mandate that did not happen — and during this campaign, no one has tried to make a similar promise.

The focus of this campaign has shifted to health infrastructure. An issue for all parties has been the redevelopment or replacement of Halifax’s aging Victoria General hospital.

READ MORE: All of our election coverage

Victoria General Hospital

Liberal

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  • Have not released the complete cost for the hospital’s redevelopment
  • A public-private partnership model is a possibility

Progressive Conservative

  • Part of Jamie Baillie’s proposed $2-billion infrastructure plan would include a new Victoria General hospital
  • Baillie says he expects half of the $2 billion to come from Ottawa

NDP

  • Have said they will not use a public-private partnership funding model for the Victoria General hospital

Health System

Liberal

  • Will roll out a $116.7-million package to establish more collaborative care clinics and recruit more doctors. $78 million will go towards expanding and creating 70 collaborative care teams.
  • McNeil said doctors will not be forced into collaborative care teams if they still want to work solo.
  • $15 million will roll out over three years for construction and renovations of collaborative care clinics.
  • $11.7 million will create 10 new spaces in the family medicine residency program and $12 million will go towards tuition relief.
  • More than $31 million over four years to help Nova Scotians with disabilities live successfully in their communities
  • An investment of $14.7 million would allow government to create and maintain small options homes, which would allow up to 32 people to live in community-based settings.
  • $25-million investment over four years for caregiver benefit program to expand eligibility to include 400 people caring for those with lower levels of dementia in 2017, and 1,200 caring for those with mental illness in 2018
  • $2.25 million over three years to increase medical consultation support by using video technology
  • $1.5 million over three years to expand Independent Living Support
  • $3 million over four years to expand the Flex Independent Program
  • $750,000 over three years to expand Respite Care Options
  • $1.2 million for design work to expand emergency department at IWK Children’s Hospital

Progressive Conservative

  • Leader Jamie Baillie has promised that if his party were to form government, they would spend $19.5 million over four years to address the shortage of family doctors and specialists in Nova Scotia
  • Much of the money would be spent in the first year
  • The PCs would also add $6 million to the tuition relief program to keep new family doctors in Nova Scotia, and recognize the credentials for Nova Scotians who study medicine abroad
  • $7.2 million to extend coverage for oral cancer drugs

NDP

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  • The party will spend $120 million over four years to build new primary care clinics and to hire more doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners
  • Work collaboratively with family doctors to determine what resources are needed in various communities
  • Significantly increase the medical help needed by people who are still without a physician (did not commit to a number)
  • The NDP promised to expand dental care coverage for children under 18.
  • Will implement all recommendations in the Nova Scotia General Employees Union’s Code Critical report
  • The party will spend $6 million over four years to double the number of midwives in the province
  • Money from the $6 million will also be used to create a training program for aspiring midwives

Read More: Incumbent Andrew Younger withdraws from Dartmouth East election

Mental health care

Liberal

  • The Liberals have promised that with a new mandate they will commit $34 million over four years to improve access to mental health services across the province. They’ve promised 51 mental health clinicians will be hired through an expansion of the SchoolPlus program.
  • Creation of a central intake system to ensure patients get the care they need
  • Among other initiatives is $2 million in funding over two years to pilot four youth health centres in Nova Scotia schools
  • The Liberals have promised the expansion of IWK Children’s Hospital emergency department would improve mental health services for those aged 16 to 19.

Progressive Conservative

  • Have promised to invest $39.7 million in the mental health system
  • Providing all students with access to in-school mental health services
  • Establishing Mental Health Crisis Response Centres to divert people undergoing a mental health crisis from emergency rooms to a facility, staffed by trained mental health professionals, to receive appropriate and informed treatment.
  • Creation of a Mental Health and Wellness Institute in concert with a Nova Scotia university and attracting mental health experts.
  • A $250 direct tax rebate for Nova Scotians who, through a medical diagnosis and treatment plan, rely on a psychiatric service dog.

NDP

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  • The NDP says $21.5 million – which comes from the party’s $49.5 million commitment over four years — will go to a second mental health strategy, picking up where the 2009 NDP government’s left off
  • $25 million on three pilot mental health hubs in emergency rooms in Halifax, Kentville and Sydney in an effort to speed up access to care

Seniors Long-term Care

Liberal

  • The Liberals have said $3.2 million was promised in last month’s proposed budget  — which was not passed before the election call — to increase food budgets and improve recreational therapy programming in long-term care facilities.

Progressive Conservative

  • The PCs have promised to spend $32.8 million over four years to reverse cuts to long term care
  • The party will freeze the cost share ratio for seniors’ pharmacare

NDP

  • Will restore $8 million cut to nursing homes
  • The NDP have promised to freeze pharmacare premiums and lobby for a national pharmacare program

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