Janet Knox and Frank van Schaayk

Leadership Message

By any measure, 2019-20 will stand out as a year of unprecedented change and challenge for Nova Scotia Health and our communities. MORE

Man in clinical setting
financial spotlight

Financial Highlights

This report provides an overview for the year ending. March 31, 2020.

Our Directions

Healthier Together is our plan to help Nova Scotians be healthy and stay healthy. Following our three strategic directions will help guide us to this future.

Our People

23,400 Employees
2,287 Licensed Physicians in NS
7,000 Volunteers

Leadership Message

Janet Knox & Frank van Schaayk

By any measure, 2019-20 will stand out as a year of unprecedented change and challenge for Nova Scotia Health and our communities. As always, our teams responded - providing compassionate care and service while seeking and finding innovative solutions together. The strength of our people and our partnerships has never been more evident. We are proud to be part of such a caring, patient-focused, committed and resilient organization. This year’s annual report theme, Our People, Our Pride, couldn’t be more fitting.

Hurricane Dorian swept through our province in September causing injuries, flooding, property damage and widespread power outages impacting our hospitals and service locations. Some sites experienced additional impacts including phone and network issues and water damage. Our staff, physicians, learners and volunteers, many of whom experienced loss or damage to their own property, belongings and homes, stepped up to maintain our services and provide care during the storm.

In January, as news of a novel virus began emerging out of Asia and Europe, we began working with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Department of Health and Wellness to closely monitor the situation and ensure we were prepared to respond. Our teams worked tirelessly to transform our health system in a pandemic - supporting efforts to limit and slow the spread of the virus, protect our population and create capacity in the system while providing the best care for our patients. You’ll learn more about these efforts in this report.

In the midst of this, on April 18 and 19, Nova Scotia was faced with a senseless act of violence that began in the small, picturesque community of Portapique and extended to other communities in northern Nova Scotia. This unimaginable tragedy led to the death of 22 people and left countless others wounded, traumatized and in mourning. Our teams stepped up to care for and support those impacted by this tragedy, while at the same time dealing with their own pain, shock and grief.

These events, and others that followed, have exacted a terrible toll on our province, on our communities and our organization. And yet we continue to hear stories filled with compassion, bravery, innovation and collaboration about the people who work, learn and volunteer at Nova Scotia Health. They are the heart of our organization.

There were significant changes in our leadership this year with Dr. Brendan Carr assuming the role of President and CEO following the retirement of Janet Knox. Restructuring of the executive team, initiated by interim leader Janet Davidson, brought further changes intended to strengthen governance and operational oversight and to support timely, local decision-making and accountability. In early 2020, we began work to realign roles, responsibilities and reporting relationships under the new executive structure. While still in progress, that change was pressure tested under COVID-19 and the coordinated response seen across the province is an early validation of our approach.

As you’ll see in this report, we continued to move forward and make progress on a number of our priorities, as identified in our strategic plan. We launched Healthier Together 2019-22 earlier this year, establishing three key priority areas: Our Services, Our People and Our Communities. We are pleased to share some highlights on our progress including efforts to:

  • · strengthen family practice teams and recruit family doctors – more than 70,000 Nova Scotians found a primary care provider and 129 doctors, including 62 family doctors, started practice in the province.
  • · improve access, promote wellness and improve quality of care and life for Nova Scotians who need hip and knee surgery – increased the volume of hip and knee replacement surgeries by 25 per cent since 2015, hired more than 90 additional providers, including innovative and enabling roles such as RN first assistants, physician assistants, and orthopedic nurse practitioners.
  • · ensure that people experiencing mental health issues and/or harmful substance use or gambling can manage their conditions and work towards recovery – increased the percentage of urgent cases meeting the wait time target of seven days to 96 per cent, up from 89 per cent.
  • · redevelop and modernize our health system infrastructure – Neville J. Gilfoy wing at Dartmouth General Hospital opened, broke ground on a replacement parking lot at Cape Breton Regional Hospital to make way for expansion of the hospital.
  • · support research and innovation - there were nearly 400 new research projects initiated, bringing the total number of active projects to more than 1,300.
  • · work with our communities to improve health and wellness – worked with NSHA staff, physicians, municipal leaders, community stakeholders and business people to bring Shelburne and surrounding communities together for conversations about addressing the challenges with health and health care together, about 200 people participated.

These are just a few examples.

While many of our initiatives have been impacted by COVID-19, we remain committed to improving access and patient experience, delivering safe, quality care and supporting people to be healthy and well. Over the months ahead as we continue the important work of re-introducing health services, we will also focus our attention on these priorities, updating our key actions and incorporating important learnings from our pandemic response where possible.

Many Nova Scotians have come forward to offer encouragement, support and gratitude for the ways our teams work to improve health and health care in Nova Scotia. We, in turn, want to thank Nova Scotians who are following public health measures and direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health. We know this hasn’t been easy for anyone, but it has greatly reduced the impact of the pandemic on Nova Scotians and our health system so far.

We also want to acknowledge our partners including foundations, auxiliaries, community health boards and patient/family advisors. While much of our shared work has been affected by COVID-19, they are a valued part of our team. We sincerely appreciate their contributions and support at all times, and during the pandemic response. Our board of directors looks forward to resuming meetings across the province and connecting with these important partners once restrictions ease.

We do not know what the coming year will bring. We do know that we have the people, passion and foundation to face it with skill, ingenuity, compassion and generosity of spirit.

Our employees, physicians, learners and volunteers have done an outstanding job of coming together as one team. They’ve brought their expertise and perspective towards a shared goal and focus, and achieved impressive results. We hope to build on this spirit of collaboration and cooperation to achieve our vision of healthy people, healthy communities – for generations.

Frank van Schaayk

Chair, Board of Directors

Nova Scotia Health

Dr. Brendan Carr

President & CEO

Nova Scotia Health

Phone : 1-844-491-5890

90 Lovett Lake Court

Suite 201

Halifax, NS, B3S 0H6