This should work in practical terms

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The health minister thinking out loud said he would prefer to see the operational centre of a new health authority – to cover most of the province – located in Truro.

Doubtless no matter where headquarters are set up, it’ll kick off a degree of worry about what that will mean for health care in all surrounding areas. But it shouldn’t – such an attitude would be more so a matter of parochial instincts kicking in.

In fact, theoretically this exercise of consolidating the authorities should be about taking up the slack in administration in favour of concentrating on front line health workers. Granted, in theory communism works too, but done right this transformation of the health system could mean practical improvements.

Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine, in discussing reducing the number of health authorities from 10 to two – one for the IWK Health Centre and one for the rest of the province – said Thursday no frontline jobs will be cut. The Liberals are hoping to save $13 million a year through this election promise, to be completed by next April 1.

As can be expected, not everyone is convinced. In a reader poll in The News, about equal numbers were concerned – or not concerned – about having the health authority based outside Pictou County. And about 10 per cent thought consolidation is just plain wrong.

Certainly, as always, some will use the coming change as a reason to fear monger. They’ll say it’s a first step toward losing services in Pictou County and seeing them moved to Colchester.

But keep in mind, eight other areas in the province could express the same fear. That would be irrational. Consolidating executive functions in a day of modern communications should in no way reflect the practical delivery of services as they have been provided. The outlying areas will still have local administration.

Likely the big test will be whether this move actually saves money. If it does, let’s see that invested in health staff and services.

 

Organizations: IWK Health Centre

Geographic location: Pictou County, Colchester

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