Skip to main content

Nova Scotia is cutting hospital spending 3%

Nova Scotia has told its district health authorities (DHAs) that it will cut their budgets three per cent next year.   The government already flat-lined DHA budget this year.

The DHAs deliver health services in Nova Scotia, including hospital, community health, mental health, and public health services.

Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald believes the budget cut presents an opportunity for the DHAs to improve efficiency through collaboration, reports. "We have to do things differently and ask whether duplicating programs and services across the province still makes sense.”

The DHAs are less enthusiastic.  “We can never promise absolute lack of disruption to our patients, to our staff, services, and so on,” says Amanda Whitewood, the chief financial officer of the Capital Health District in Halifax. Her DHA has had to reduce its spending by $11.3 million or 1.4 per cent this year to compensate for the budget freeze and inflationary pressures. With the budget cut next year, this could force an additional $21 million in spending reductions.

Danny Cavanaugh, president of CUPE Nova Scotia states, “I want to make it perfectly clear to the provincial government that CUPE believes any attempts to privatize, or ‘sell off’ or centralize parts of our health care system would be ill-advised and not in the interests of Nova Scotians.”

CUPE Acute Care Co-ordinator Wayne Thomas says, “The DHAs are now in the process of reviewing services with the direction of government to reduce spending by 3%. Our members who provide frontline services in hospitals, labs and clinics across the province are puzzled as to how this can be done without having a direct impact on patient care."

Ontario hospital budget increases fell to under 5% in the last two years, resulting in service cuts, bed cuts, ER closures, and layoffs.


Popular posts from this blog

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.

Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 

No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

More spending on new hospitals and new beds? Nope

Hospital funding:  There is something off about the provincial government's Budget claims on hospital capital funding (funding to build and renovate hospital beds and facilities).   

For what it is worth (which is not that much, given the long time frame the government cites), the province claims it will increase hospital capital spending over the next 10 years from $11 billion to $20 billion – or on average to about $2 billion per year.  But, this is just a notional increase from the previous announcement of future hospital capital spending. 

Moreover, even if we did take this as a serious promise and not just a wisp of smoke, the government's own reports shows they have actually funded hospital infrastructure about $3 billion a year over the 2011/12-2015/16 period.

So this “increase” is really a decrease from past actual spending. Even last year's (2016-17) hospital capital funding increase was reported in this Budget at $2.3 billion - i.e. about 15% more than they have ann…