Chamber wants health minister to release figures

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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TRURO - Ever-rising healthcare costs and the ballooning construction expenses at the
new regional hospital have prompted a call for a breakdown of the province's health-care expenditures.
"This is not an issue we can wait to deal with," said Jim Lorraine, president of the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce, regarding a letter sent to Health Minister Maureen MacDonald, in which he expresses concern over the province's ability to keep up with the rising costs.
"If we don't do something significant now, there will be no money left for anything other than health care. That means our schools, roads and our ability to attract new residents and businesses will suffer."
Lorraine said the chamber is troubled by estimates that say 100 per cent of the province's revenues will be eaten up by health care within the next 10 to 15 years if expenses stay on their current path.
Referring to the Corpus Sanchez report completed three years ago, Lorraine said the information "clearly" points to a crisis situation the government has yet to respond to.
Currently, residents and business owners in Nova Scotia cannot offer any input into ways to solve the health care funding issues due to the fact no one really knows how the money is dispersed within the system, he said. The chamber is asking the Health Minister to make those numbers available so all citizens and businesses can offer informed solutions to the challenges the province is facing.
"What we need are concrete numbers in order to offer potential solutions," he said.
"Without it, we're simply taking shots in the dark. We understand that this problem isn't unique to Nova Scotia, but that doesn't mean we can sit back and wait to be steam-rolled. The time for action is now."
As an example of the uphill battle this province is facing with health care, Lorraine referred to the cost of the new Colchester Regional Hospital which has gone from $104 million to $180.
On a more personal note, he recalled during the final days while his father (Ed) was in hospital and visitors were required to wear gloves and gowns in order to see him due to a fairly common infection referred to as MRSA. The gowns do not cover all parts of the body, leaving visitors exposed.
But after inquiring about the cost, Lorraine said he was told it was $10 per visitor.
"Dad would receive 30 to 40 visitors a day," he said. "He wasn't the only person in the hospital with this bug and Colchester Regional isn't the only hospital in the province. You do the math. These costs may seem small but they add up quickly.
"A complete breakdown is needed before we can fully understand what we're up against."

Organizations: Truro and District Chamber of Commerce, Colchester Regional Hospital

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Colchester

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Recent comments

  • dave
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    thanks jack, much appreciated....and they wonder why they are broke.

  • dave
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    not just health - but all departments should be transparent and on-line. i was on the provincial finance site in prep for the ministers meeting and what a waste of nothingness. want to save money - have some accountability.

  • Jack
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    This is where you find the figures...look in the supplementary section. Every penny spent is shown there.....It is suprising and sometime disturbing what government spends on.