Health Scan – Atlantic Canada and Manitoba – May 24, 2024

A provincial health scan for Atlantic Canada and Manitoba for the week of May 24, 2024. Written by Wes McLean.

Manitoba

  • Hundreds of patient records were “inappropriately accessed” by a worker at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre over the span of months from last summer through this spring. Shared Health, which co-ordinates health-care delivery in the province and is responsible for operations at HSC, reported the breach Friday. It has advised about 360 patients at HSC, Manitoba’s largest hospital, that their personal health information was breached between August 2023 and March of this year, a Shared Health news release said. The finding followed an internal investigation into “incidents of unauthorized access” of patient records by a clinical staff member, the news release said.
  • Manitoba’s government says a new tentative contract will draw nurses working for private agencies back into the public health-care sector — but the Opposition says the NDP is trying to bully nurses. A new tentative four-year contract includes a clause that prohibits nurses working for private nursing agencies from also picking up extra hours through the public sector in the same health region. The agreement was narrowly ratified by nurses last week — except for those working at Shared Health. The reliance on private nursing agencies to staff health-care facilities in the province has increased costs for the system, Premier Wab Kinew said during a committee meeting Wednesday.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Earlier this week, the Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Health and Community Services, and the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., announced a bilateral agreement to invest $78 million over the next five years to help residents of Newfoundland and Labrador age with dignity. Federal funding will support Newfoundland and Labrador’s five-year action plan to improve health care for seniors. The plan is intended to:
    • Improve home and community care systems
    • Enhance palliative and end-of-life care
    • Strengthen the workforce
    • Enhance the quality of care and quality of life through improved long-term care standards
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Health Minister Tom Osborne said Friday he is retiring, bringing an end to his career as the longest-serving member of the provincial legislature. Osborne made the announcement to reporters inside the House of Assembly alongside members of his family. “Even the brightest days have a sunset,” Osborne said. “I can say that when I first started, I never imagined being here almost three decades, but along the way I could never imagine leaving. So it’s taken, you know, a lot of thought gone into my decision to retire.” He said he will stay on as health minister until July, at the request of Premier Andrew Furey. He told reporters he notified Furey in March of his decision to see his work through the end of the current legislative session.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador’s immigration minister says comments made by a Progressive Conservative candidate in an upcoming byelection are full of “overtones” that are “unacceptable.” Minister Gerry Byrne says the leader of the PC Party needs to consider if he still wants Lin Paddock to be a representative of his party. Paddock made a comment during a byelection debate at the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce on Thursday when speaking about the province recruiting doctors from overseas. “We need to recruit in areas that love this, places like Germany where they adore the outdoors, not India and Pakistan where they will come here and then go to Toronto,” Paddock said. Byrne said he had no idea where Paddock got information to support his statement.

Nova Scotia

  • Patients waiting at an emergency department in Dartmouth, N.S., with symptoms including chest pain, severe bleeding or trouble breathing are now being given a portable device that allows nurses to monitor their pulse and oxygen levels. It’s part of a pilot project that started in January. The device, a pulse oximeter, is wirelessly connected to a monitor that tracks vital signs. Nurse Julie Canning, one of the people who keeps an eye on the data coming from the devices, said it has allowed them to catch heart-rate abnormalities. “If we have them on this monitor — let’s say for about five hours, and a doctor doesn’t see them until about hour six — we’re able to go back to hour three and see if there were any funky arrhythmias that we may have caught,” said Canning.
  • The senior executive who had a hand in establishing virtual care in Nova Scotia and setting up clinics in pharmacies, in addition to being a driving force behind the YourHealthNS app, is quitting her job. In an email to staff Tuesday, Gail Tomblin Murphy said she is resigning from her role as vice president of research, innovation and discovery as well as innovation partnerships with Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub. She said the decision was the result of “careful consideration,” and came with “mixed emotions.” Speaking with CBC News in her office, Tomblin Murphy said it was time to let someone else lead.
  • A clinic at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax has been renamed to honour a teenage hockey player, from Bedford, N.S., who died more than a decade ago. Jordan Boyd died as a result of inherited heart disease in August 2013. The 16-year-old collapsed on the ice during training camp with the Acadie–Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL. It was later determined that Jordan had an undiagnosed heart condition called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. The Jordan Boyd Inherited Heart Disease Clinic was unveiled on Thursday.  

New Brunswick

  • The following is an excerpt of a statement issued today by Nick Taggart, vice-chairperson of the Premier’s Council on Disabilities, on the introduction of accessibility legislation: As we get ready to celebrate Disability Awareness Week, May 26 to June 1, the Premier’s Council on Disabilities would like to congratulate the government on bringing forward accessibility legislation and acknowledge the work of the select committee on accessibility. The proposed legislation is an important and long-awaited step towards creating a more accessible and inclusive society for the significant number of New Brunswickers with a disability. According to Statistics Canada, more than one-third of us are now living with a disability, and, at 35.3 percent, it is the second-highest rate in Canada, well above the national average of 27 percent. New Brunswick’s disability rate is also rising faster than any other province’s. The need for this legislation has never been greater. The full statement can be found here:  Statement on Disability Awareness Week and accessibility legislation (gnb.ca)
  • New Brunswick has expanded its COVID-19 wastewater monitoring system network and is expanding its uses to include other infectious diseases, such as the flu and RSV. New surveillance sites have been added in Sackville and St. Stephen, along with a second site in Saint John, said Sean Hatchard, spokesperson for the Department of Health. The sites have started operating and their data will soon be uploaded to the national COVID-19 wastewater monitoring dashboard, he said.
  • The province has proposed laws to improve accessibility for public and private sector spaces, including standards and penalties for failing to comply. Haley Flaro, the executive director of Ability New Brunswick, said it was a career highlight for her and her team to see the Accessibility Act tabled in the legislature on Friday. “We had tears coming down our face,” Flaro said after the bill was introduced. “I’m often told … we’ve made so much progress, and we have … but there are still too many people being left behind, and we have a lot of examples of that, unfortunately.”

Prince Edward Island

  • Paramedics in Prince Edward Island were honoured today with medals at an awards ceremony at Government House as part of Paramedic Services Week celebrations. The Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medals are given annually to recognize emergency medical services professionals who have performed their duties in an outstanding manner, characterized by good conduct, dedication and efficiency.
  • A jobless doctor from Nepal says his ‘dreams have been shattered’ on P.E.I. Akash Kumar Mishra says he’s put out hundreds of applications with no success. Mishra used to work as a doctor in Nepal and Dubai, helping critically ill patients. He understands and accepts that he can’t practise medicine in Canada without the proper certifications this country requires, but he thought his years of education and experience would help him land a decent job. He said he has saved lives working in critical care and has experience in addiction care, long-term care and hospital administration.

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