Dear Colleagues in Health:
During the Community Conversations on Healthcare this past fall we heard from more than 1,000 people who said they want a better healthcare system. They told us it’s what they need. It’s what Nova Scotians deserve, and exactly what we are working toward.
This past year has seen a frenzy of activity, investment, and innovation in this province. We’ve put all hands-on deck in order to jumpstart system-wide changes in healthcare.
Our organization is made up of more than 40 thousand employees, doctors, volunteers, researchers, and learners committed to providing the care that Nova Scotians need and deserve. That commitment – your commitment - doesn’t come without sacrifice. Our people go above and beyond every day to meet the needs of patients and communities. Your dedication to healthcare is unparalleled we are grateful foreach and every one of you.
Let’s do more. Let’s do it faster. Let’s do it together. This has been our rallying cry to Nova Scotia Health and our partners in healthcare this past year. We are doing more, doing it faster, and doing it together. Supported by the strong foundation of the Action for Health strategy, the plan to fix healthcare is working.
But just as the significant challenges in healthcare didn’t appear overnight, they aren’t going to disappear as quickly as we’d like either. While we are working very hard on solutions, the reality is it’s going to take time to resolve. However, we are making progress and the data proves it.
We’ve performed almost 2,000 more surgeries this year compared to our pre-pandemic year and have taken more than 4,000 patients off the waitlist. Last year 1,193 outpatient hip and knee joint replacements were done, compared to 85 pre-pandemic. That’s an incredible increase.
In addition, we’ve also moved quickly to improve access to care, and to bolster recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals. We have also worked diligently this year to make primary care more accessible and to relieve ongoing pressure on emergency departments.
Nova Scotia Health has been working hard to appropriately recognize its people. One of the ways we are doing that is through the Unsung Heroes Award. Launched in November, this monthly award celebrates five employees or physicians from across the organization who embody Nova Scotia Health values, inspire their colleagues, and demonstrate extraordinary commitment to their roles with no expectation of praise or recognition. Peers have nominated over 1,500 coworkers for this award since its launch!
Another shift involves fostering a more culturally safe work environment. Racism and prejudice have no place at Nova Scotia Health. A culturally safe, diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization is crucial to deliver excellent patient care and create a respectful workplace. Professor David Divine of Dalhousie University helped us accelerate our work on equity, diversity, inclusion and reconciliation and to embed these values into our health system.
To attract and keep healthcare talent, we need modern technology and modern infrastructure. We’ve made great strides in both of these areas including the More, Faster building plan that supports the redevelopment of the QEII Health Sciences Centre, and other new facilities in Central Zone. Great headway has been made with major facility expansion projects in every zone, including South Shore Regional Hospital, North Cumberland Memorial Hospital, Yarmouth Regional Hospital, and the massive CBRM Redevelopment Project which has seen tremendous progress in the construction of the new cancer centre.
We are fully committed to building a better healthcare system. We express our gratitude to our many partners; the Department of Health and Wellness, IWK Health, healthcare foundations, auxiliaries, community health boards, volunteers, patient and family advisors, universities and colleges, and our entire team at Nova Scotia Health. We value your contribution, collaboration, and support.
A better healthcare system is what Nova Scotians have told us they need and deserve. We’re going to create it together.