Health Scan – Atlantic Canada and Manitoba – November 24-December 1, 2023

Health Scan – Atlantic Canada and Manitoba – November 24 - December, 1, 2023. Written by Wes McLean.

Manitoba

  • The Manitoba government is addressing Manitoba’s rising rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) by supporting community-based approaches to treatment and care, Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Uzoma Asagwara announced today. New funding will support projects that improve access to HIV prevention and intervention including more than $527,000 to support initiatives by the Manitoba HIV Program for the current fiscal year and more than $271,000 for a mobile care service run by the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre (AHWC). 
  • The Manitoba government is adding new acute care beds to help improve patient care at Grace Hospital and reduce congestion in its emergency department, Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Uzoma Asagwara announced today. As a part of a broader beds plan, as well as the establishment of a new family medicine program at Grace Hospital, this investment will add 10 new medicine beds and 11 new surgical beds (including five announced on Nov. 17) at Grace Hospital before the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 2024), with another 10 medicine beds to be added in 2024-25, the minister noted, adding this phased-in approach will help ensure the beds are resourced and staffed as they come online.
  • The Manitoba government will be listening to the ideas, concerns and priorities of front-line health-care workers at a series of in-person conversations to be held across Manitoba, Premier Wab Kinew and Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Uzoma Asagwara announced today. The premier, the health, seniors and long-term care minister, and members of the government caucus will host hour-long, in-person conversations in selected healthcare facilities across the province. Healthcare workers employed in those facilities will be invited to attend and engage in an open conversation about challenges, solutions, and innovations in healthcare.
  • Respiratory virus season is here and one Manitoba doctor says it’s only going to get worse. Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg emergency department medical director Dr. Karen Gripp said as the season changes respiratory virus numbers will continue to rise in the next couple of months. “Winter is coming, we expect this pretty much every winter, but the numbers are increasing,” said Gripp. “Even just this past week we’ve jumped quite a bit in terms of the visits to children’s emergencies and mostly they are respiratory viruses, influenza, RSV, COVID, as well as several other viruses common to children,” Gripp said the vaccination rate among against influenza is only at 10 percent for children in the province. 
  • A family doctor recruited to work for a decade in a northern Manitoba community left after just 16 months and is now refusing and/or neglecting to repay a $100,000 interest-free loan, according to documents filed in court. Dr. Andrea Wilson signed a loan agreement with The Pas Community Development Corporation (CDC) on Apr. 1, 2019, after finishing her family medicine residency program at the University of Manitoba, according to a lawsuit filed against her by the CDC.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Work continues on time and on budget for the new 102-bed adult mental health and addictions centre at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s. The construction of the new facility is expected to be completed in late 2024, with patients being welcomed to the centre in spring 2025. The most recent work on the 240,000-square-foot, six-storey building includes:
    • The installation of the facility’s HVAC system, drywall and ceilings;
    • Work on the lighting, controls and the Building Automation System;
    • Millwork is ongoing; and
    • Work on the main entrance has also recently begun.
  • A new integrated community health care centre will be constructed in Stephenville, which will help increase access to health care in the Stephenville/Bay St. George region. Newfoundland and Labrador Health Services (NL Health Services) has awarded a contract valued at approximately $2 million per year to GDR Enterprises Limited to lease space for 20 years at a new 41,140 square-feet facility, to be constructed at the corner of Connecticut Drive and Minnesota Avenue, near the Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital.
  • The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities in Newfoundland and Labrador says they will not continue their regular public appearance with the provincial government on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities this year, because of what it calls regressive actions over legislation. Dec. 3 is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, observed by the United Nations as a day to promote the rights and well-being of people with disabilities.
  • A central Newfoundland doctor whose company lost out on a contract to provide virtual care in the province is wondering why an outside company was chosen instead of his group of local doctors. Dr. Todd Young of Springdale is the medical director of Medicuro, a company that brands itself as Newfoundland and Labrador’s first virtual healthcare clinic. The company bid on the provincial government’s proposal to provide virtual care to residents, but the province chose American-based Teladoc Health instead.

Nova Scotia

  • Seniors in the Port Hawkesbury area will have access to new, modern long-term care rooms with the replacement and expansion of the local nursing home. The Port Hawkesbury Nursing Home is being replaced with a new 96-room facility that will provide care to an additional 42 seniors.
  • More seniors in the Musquodoboit Valley and surrounding communities will have access to needed long-term care with a new, expanded facility. The Musquodoboit Valley Home for Special Care (Braeside) will be replaced with a 48-room facility, providing care for an additional 19 seniors. The new home is expected to open in 2032.
  • Nova Scotians thinking about attempting suicide or worried about someone else who may be thinking about suicide now have another place to turn to for help. The new 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline provides urgent, live, trauma-informed support by phone and text 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
  • People living in and around Caledonia, Queens County, will have access to a new, modern long-term care facility with the replacement of the North Queens Nursing Home. The new North Queens Nursing Home, which is expected to open in 2032, will provide care to about 48 seniors.
  • More South Shore seniors who need long-term care will have access to local, modern rooms when the new 96-room Hillside Pines Home for Special Care opens in 2029. Becky Druhan, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development and MLA for Lunenburg West, made the announcement on behalf of Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Barbara Adams at the Bridgewater facility.
  • More Cape Breton seniors in need of long-term care will have access to new, modern facilities with the replacement of both Northside Community Guest Home and Miners Memorial Manor in 2032. Northside Community Guest Home in North Sydney will be replaced with a new 144-room home while Miners Memorial Manor in Sydney Mines will be replaced with a new 64-room facility, adding 14 more long-term care rooms to the area.
  • Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston’s call for “common sense ideas” on how to improve the province’s health-care system received 2,202 submissions. The provincial government announced the contest for health-care workers last month, seeking ideas that are “simple and easy to implement with little to no funding.”The deadline was Nov. 22. As part of the effort, everyone who sent an idea will be entered into a random electronic draw for 50 prizes of $1,000 each. Winners of the Dec. 4 draw will be contacted by email.
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New Brunswick

  • The provincial government has tabled a $1.2-billion capital budget, an increase of nearly $200 million over the multi-year plan tabled last year. Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves said the increase reflects the elevated inflationary environment and supply chain pressures of recent years and is in response to the needs of a growing province. In keeping with the provincial health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action, $199.8 million will be invested in healthcare infrastructure. More than $155 million of this will go toward the continuation of renovations, additions and other improvements to infrastructure around the province.
  • A pilot project that has been helping improve access to primary care for years at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton was given permanent status today to mark Physician Assistants Day. Health Minister Bruce Fitch said physician assistants have played a key role in improving patient flow, reducing wait times and providing a positive patient experience at the hospital’s emergency department since 2011 as part of a long-standing pilot project. The pilot project is over, and physician assistants are now a permanent fixture at the hospital.
  • A health promotion group is calling for more stringent safety measures during renovations to improve school ventilation after some students experienced headaches, itchy eyes, nosebleeds and other symptoms related to poor air quality during work at Sir James Dunn Academy in Saint Andrews. “We can’t be making children sick while we are doing those upgrades,” said Melanie Langille, president and CEO of NB Lung. NB Lung was approached by concerned parents, who said their children and their children’s classmates were feeling ill and missing class, said Langille.

Prince Edward Island

  • Associate physicians are a new idea for Prince Edward Island, but Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kathie McNally says they could soon be having an impact on the province’s health-care system. Associate physicians are already practising in some jurisdictions. They are doctors with international training and experience, who by the standards of the local college of physicians and surgeons do not qualify for a medical licence. That has left these doctors with nowhere to participate in providing health care for Islanders, but that is about to change. Health P.E.I. intends to advertise for the province’s first five associate physicians within the next two weeks.
  • QEH Foundation raising money for CT scanner to give emergency room quick access. ‘It’s all about patient safety,’ says QEH Foundation’s director of philanthropy. With a $1.3 million target, the fundraising campaign for the CT scanner is a big lift for a small community, but Hughes is confident the foundation’s supporters will answer the challenge. The QEH Auxiliary launched the campaign Thursday by making a $100,000 donation.

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