Patient :: Nova Scotia with Canada to announce patient wait times guarantee

The Honourable Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health, and the Honourable Chris d’Entremont, Nova Scotia Health Minister, announced that Nova Scotia has agreed to establish a Patient Wait Times Guarantee in radiation therapy for cancer by 2010, to be supported by $24.2 million in federal Budget 2007 funding.

Nova Scotia will also be eligible to benefit from the $400 million in new funding for Canada Health Infoway, and the $30 million for pilot projects as announced in Budget 2007.

Nova Scotia is well positioned to receive up to $48 million over the next three years for the implementation of the Patient Wait Times Guarantees.

“This is a historic moment for healthcare in Canada to have Nova Scotia as the first province to work with Canada’s New Government and announce a Patient Wait Times Guarantee,” said Minister Clement. “For the first time, Nova Scotians will be guaranteed timely health care access in the area of cancer radiation therapy. We congratulate Nova Scotia for its leadership in taking this step, and guaranteeing patient care.”

In addition to cancer radiation therapy, Nova Scotia will also implement two pilot projects. The first will seek ways to improve efficiencies in diagnostic imaging. And the second one will be to develop an electronic patient portal system/centralized wait list for Nova Scotians awaiting hip and knee replacement surgery across the province.

“I’m very proud that Nova Scotia is leading the way,” said Nova Scotia Health Minister Chris d’Entremont. “Cancer affects so many Nova Scotians, we want to ensure they get the radiation treatment they need as quickly as possible.”

Canada’s New Government intends to provide up to $612 million in a Patient Wait Times Guarantee Trust, $400 million for health information technology through Infoway, an organization which is making significant progress in working with provinces and territories to implement electronic health records. In addition to these investments, $30 million over three years will go to provinces and territories for pilot projects related to establishing guarantees.

“This new guarantee will give patients the care they need, when they need it,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Regional Minister of Nova Scotia and Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Canadians expect their federal government to work with the provinces in their best interests, and we are proud to be working with Nova Scotia to improve health care for the people of this province.”

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