Good health is not just the absence of disease, it is a spiritual, physical and mental well-being that depends heavily on environmental and social factors.
Many Nova Scotians are not as healthy as they deserve to be and are suffering a reduced quality of life, some even dying prematurely. The Green Party of Nova Scotia believe that more effort should be put into preventative health programs to ensure a better quality of life and encourage the maintenance of good health into old age and that education programs are an essential part of this process.
Our approach is holistic. We recognise that environmental, economic, social and political factors are significant determinants of good health. Clean air, water, and food and appropriate housing are preconditions to wellbeing and can prevent many illnesses or diseases in the first place. Cost savings due to improved community health would enable, accessible, timely, equitable and appropriate care when illness or infirmity occurs. To this end, we will develop a Provincial Health Strategy.
The Green Party is committed to better system-wide planning, involving the location of services, cooperation between hospitals and clinics, and the removal of unnecessary duplication of services to ensure the viability of acute care and quality medical attention.
We are committed to significantly reducing the incidence of preventable cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancers, hepatitis, HIV, AIDS and STIs, diabetes and obesity, by providing funding for lifelong education and health programs. These would promote appropriate exercise and nutrition and discourage risk-taking behaviour relative to these health issues.
We recognise that alcohol and tobacco are the drugs which result in the greatest health problems and financial cost to society and support the principle of harm minimization, and will treat the personal use of drugs as primarily a health issue.
Specific measures the Green Party will take:
- support and promote community health and safety initiatives and projects.
- introduce and support programs that promote healthy active lifestyles for all ages.
- commence a province-wide health strategy by unsafe or unhealthy environmental practice.
- consult with stakeholders to develop a hospital plan that delivers timely, equitable and efficient care
- improve the delivery of mental health services and ensure that all regions of the province have access to the services.
- improve drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.
- focus on the recruitment and retention of doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare professionals.
- increase funding for staffing and support so that more hospital beds are made available.
- ensure all Nova Scotians have ready access to current information and appropriate assistance to strive for and maintain a healthy lifestyle, considerate of individual circumstances;
- develop strategies to minimise the misuse of drugs, including education programs and regulation. Expand programs that discourage smoking;
- introduce legislation to further restrict the sale and advertising of tobacco products
- improve drug and alcohol rehabilitation services
- improve and expand public education programs on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, focusing . on youth and high-risk groups.
Healthy Environment: The Nova Scotia Greens recognise that the overuse and misuse of chemicals, the overuse of fossil fuels and the poor handling and under the regulation of industrial and human waste are factors that impact the health of our population.
- Commence a province-wide health strategy to develop and implement plans that reduce the incidence caused by unsafe or unhealthy environmental practice.
- Implement the regulation of chemicals and their use and develop a system whereby all chemical products must be labeled and the information as to content and appropriate warnings to health implications are included on visible labeling.
- Provide current information and education to the public on the dangers and risks involved in using many common chemicals and products, at home and in the workplace.
Community Participation: review health priorities and set new ones using ongoing, open processes that promote community participation, with renewed emphasis on rural health services and education.
- Consult with all stakeholders in developing a Hospital Plan which would deliver timely, equitable and efficient acute care
- Focus on the recruitment and retention of doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare professionals.
- Increase funding for staffing and support so that more hospital beds are made available.
- Waiting periods for medical tests, surgery, and many treatments are often very long and in some cases, the waits are increasing. This will be investigated and addressed.
The long-term answers for our public health care system may exist in other jurisdictions. We support investigating European models of successful single-tiered, publicly funded, universal public healthcare systems that do not have the chronic waitlist and bed-shortage problems, including investigating less invasive and less costly herbal, vitamin and other alternative therapies.
Infants and young children: Improve and strengthen prenatal education and nutrition education for prospective parents and parents of young children, stressing healthy diet and activity as critical in the prevention of many illnesses.
Mental Health: improve service delivery in mental health and in drug and alcohol rehabilitation by facilitating effective and mutually respectful formal partnerships between the public and private sectors.
Alternative Therapies: improve access to quality alternative healthcare by developing an independent and accountable regulatory system of alternative therapies; encourage the development of a complementary medicines unit within the School of Medicine at Dalhousie University.
Workforce: strengthen the health workforce by improving efficiency in recruiting, providing attractive career structures and conditions which retain nurses, doctors and allied professionals to the public system, including the reduction of student debt load for those professionals agreeing to remain and work in Nova Scotia for a determined length of time. improve access to multi-disciplinary training and education in both rural and urban areas.
Support the inclusion of Midwives and Nurse Practitioners and Home Health Care Professionals as part of Nova Scotia’s healthcare professional services, and provision for secondary and tertiary providers to bill MSI directly.
Dental Health: reintroduce MSI coverage of dental care for children up to 16 years of age.
Aboriginal Health: ensure that all Aboriginal peoples have processes for determining their own health priorities.
Disability Sector: develop a charter of rights for Nova Scotians with disabilities and their caregivers that clarify provincial responsibilities in the provision of services; improve flexibility in funding options for people with disability and their caregivers.
Expand the home support and home care programs and assisted living services to support people with chronic care needs, e-health/technology: promote the use of information technology to improve communication and reduce costs whilst ensuring privacy and confidentiality; create a user-friendly Nova Scotian health website.
Study the benefits of using Personal Digital Assistants (PDA’s) as an educational and service providing tool in rural and medically underserved regions of Nova Scotia.
Assess and improve our programs for elder care: focusing on at home caregiver support and on financial and respite consideration for families that care for elderly or infirm family members.
Immediately begin measures to increase the number of available spaces in nursing homes.
We would adopt a policy that seniors’ care is provided in the communities where they or their families live and that spouses and partners are accommodated in the same facility, and if suitable, the same room.
In Government: develop and support policy in Education, Environment, Economics, and all areas that will underpin the clean, green and healthy lifestyles that are important to Nova Scotians.