The following is a election platform press release issued by the Liberal Party:
HALIFAX: The Rankin Liberals unveiled a health care platform that commits new spending initiatives including doctor recruitment, care for seniors, new mental health walk-in clinics, and an expansion of virtual care.
The Liberal platform for quality care in Nova Scotia is realistic, smart, and targeted.
“I am proud of our leadership on healthcare in the last year and how our health professionals responded to the pandemic. It showed us we can take on big challenges when we work together,” said Nova Scotia Liberal leader and Premier Iain Rankin. “Our healthcare platform builds on initiatives in Budget 2021, and charts the way forward, providing Nova Scotians with quality care, skilled healthcare professionals and enhanced access.”
The Premier was joined by Liberal candidate for Halifax Chebucto, Dr. Jackie Kinley, for the announcement.
In addressing physician recruitment, a Liberal government will create a new office of physician recruitment and retention with an annual budget of $5 million. It will be staffed by experts from top international physician recruitment firms, who will be deployed around the world to recruit the best physicians for Nova Scotia.
The Liberals would expand virtual care to serve those on the waitlist with an investment of $6 million.
Earlier this year, the party announced two virtual care pilot projects, which provided 2,000 Nova Scotians per week with access to a doctor, serving 30,000 Nova Scotians on the unattached list.
The Liberals say they will expand this pilot to all four health zones, so that Nova Scotians will receive timely and convenient access.
The healthcare platform also provides 270 more seats for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) at the Nova Scotia Community College and reserves 30 seats for continuing care assistants to upgrade to be a licensed practice nurse.
Those who qualify will receive free tuition for the two-year program in exchange for a guarantee they will work for five years in the long-term care sector.
An annual investment of $4 million will launch and support eight new mental health walk-in clinics so Nova Scotians struggling with mental health issues will receive timely and appropriate treatment in their communities.
These new initiatives are in addition to what was detailed in Budget 2021-22, and programs announced since Premier Rankin took office in February.
Rankin said as a government, they have made historic investments to rejuvenate our long-term care sector.
This year’s cumulative commitment of $152.6 million will create new capacity – 500 new beds will be added and reduce wait times for placement in long-term care to 60 days.
The Liberals say they are also renovating 1,978 existing beds for a total of 2,478 modernized beds across 24 facilities.
In addition, they have already committed over $2 billion to modernize and rebuild the provincial healthcare infrastructure, providing state-of-the-art hospitals, operating rooms, technology, and equipment to ensure the health and well-being of Nova Scotians.
This includes support for the QEII New Generation project and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Health Care Redevelopment.
This platform builds on our previous commitments.
Liberal candidate for Halifax Chebucto, Dr. Kinley, a psychiatrist, and says the additional supports towards mental health and well-being will make a real difference in the lives of Nova Scotians.
“I’ve seen first-hand the importance of ensuring access to necessary mental health supports,” said Dr. Kinley. “This is a real plan that will help Nova Scotians access care that they need. It will make a difference.”