Tag: N.S

N.S. health administrative workers readying to strike 3 years after contract expired – Halifax

Thousands of health care administrative workers in Nova Scotia are eyeing a strike three years after their contract expired.

The unions representing them say wages remain the major sticking point, but they’re open to returning to the bargaining table. The president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) says these staff members deserve more.

“The premier has been focusing on health care,” says Sandra Mullen. “Certainly, nurses, doctors, all of those contracts have been signed with promises to keep those wages where they need to be within Atlantic Canada.”

Sandra Mullen is the President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU).

Skye Bryden-Blom/Global News

She says the wages of admin staff haven’t kept pace with inflation as some make as low as $18 per hour and are now taking on second jobs to help make ends meet.

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The NSGEU represents nearly 3,800 of the more than 5,000 administration workers in Nova Scotia’s hospitals and community care settings. The remainder are covered by CUPE and Unifor.

“They keep that operation [health care] running. They schedule appointments, they enter information that the doctors need, they do a multitude of things,” says Mullen.

The Essential Health and Community Services Act requires employers and unions to establish an essential services agreement before a strike or lockout can happen.

“I won’t allow Nova Scotians to go without access to essential services,” says Premier Tim Houston. “Particularly, I will not allow Nova Scotians to go without access to health care because of a labour disruption. It will not happen.”

Click to play video: 'Frontline worker unions happy to see Nova Scotia budget focus on health-care'

Frontline worker unions happy to see Nova Scotia budget focus on health-care

N.S. Health updates need-a-family-practice wait list by calling people who may have found a doctor

Officials with Nova Scotia Health believe they’ve identified 17,500 people who can be removed from the province’s need-a-family-practice registry, and now they’re calling them to make sure.

Health authority employees have been working to confirm the accuracy of the registry, which stood at more than 152,000 people on July 1. Monthly updates have been paused while the calls take place.

“The current phase of this confirmation process involves comparing doctor billing data against the registry to identify people who may now be attached to a family practice,” health authority spokesperson Brendan Elliott said in an email.

Elliott said health authority staff are aiming to have the calls completed and the registry updated with new information by Aug. 31. Employees will try calling a person twice, leaving a message each time. A third call would be made if there is no voicemail.

“Part of the message we leave is for the person to call a specific number to confirm their status. We will continue making calls throughout the fall to make further attempts. If we are unable to reach a person by phone we will also try to reach them via email or posted mail, to ensure we exhaust all avenues.”

Steps to ensure info security and confidentiality

If contact isn’t made, the person’s name would be put on hold for six months while employees try to reach them. If they can be contacted within six months and still require care, they would be put back in their original place on the registry, said Elliott.

The people making the calls are Nova Scotia Health employees who have received appropriate training in information security and confidentiality as outlined in the Personal Health Information Act, he said.

“All of this work is within our secure IT environment which ensures protection of personal information.…

Union says N.S. 811 staff among lowest paid health-care workers in Canada – Halifax

Telehealth associates working for Nova Scotia’s 811 phone line are speaking out through their union about how current wages are leading to difficulties retaining and recruiting workers, as a frequent turnover rate continues to impact the 24/7 health information service.

A release titled “811 workers speak out” from the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU), which is the province’s largest union, says 811 workers are amongst the lowest-paid health-care workers in Canada.

The employees, who offer health advice, the transferring of more urgent calls to 911, and assistance in adding residents to the waitlist for a primary healthcare provider, currently make $18.44 an hour. The calculated living wage for Halifax, where the employees are based, is $23.50.

According to the province’s website, 325 patients receive care from an 811 nurse on a regular basis.

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“We are experiencing higher than normal call volumes. It will take longer than usual to respond to your call,” a disclaimer on the service’s website read on Saturday.

Hugh Gillis, first vice president at NSGEU, said telehealth workers are currently under “extreme” pressures due to the position’s around-the-clock nature.

“It is unconscionable that these workers are making less than a living wage,” he said in the release.

There are currently only 17 telehealth associates working in Nova Scotia. They are employed by Emergency Medical Care Inc., which is contracted by the provincial government to operate the service.

“Staffing shortages have been so acute that workers have had to be mandated to work overtime, which is leading to worker fatigue and burn-out, and jeopardizing the service,” NSGEU’s release added.

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In an interview with Global News, Gillis said he continues to hear from workers that it’s becoming increasingly challenging to live in Halifax with their current pay.

N.S. exploring whether to add psychiatric nurses to health-care system

Nova Scotia was part of a recent 12-month feasibility study aimed at determining if registered psychiatric nurses could help to improve health-care in the Maritimes.

These nurses already play a role in other provinces in Canada but can’t practice in jurisdictions like the Maritimes where they aren’t regulated.

The study was a collaboration between the Registered Psychiatric Nurse Regulators of Canada and provincial health bodies in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I.

Cindy MacQuarrie, the senior director of interprofessional practice and learning at Nova Scotia Health, spoke to CBC Radio’s Information Morning Nova Scotia host Portia Clark about registered psychiatric nurses and the regulatory changes needed for them to play a role in Nova Scotia.

Their conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

Information Morning – NS6:47Study looks at possible role for registered psychiatric nurses in N.S.

Nova Scotia , New Brunswick and P.E.I. are currently exploring whether registered psychiatric nurses (RPNs) could help to augment health-care systems in the Maritimes. Cindy MacQuarrie, the senior director of interprofessional practice and learning at Nova Scotia Health spoke to Portia about a recent study done on the issue.

What’s the difference between a registered nurse and a registered psychiatric nurse?

Registered psychiatric nurses work side by side with other nurses — registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurse practitioners — in various practice settings and are especially concerned with individuals with mental health and addictions concerns.

It’s really critical as well to understand that psychiatric nursing education is considered a specialty.

This type of program prepares graduates to meet national entry level competencies from a nursing perspective, but they have an in-depth and a much broader depth of knowledge that focuses on mental health, addictions and advanced therapeutic relationships and communications in psychiatric nursing education.

How did the study

N.S. community doubts refugees recruited as health-care workers will ever arrive

As Bahati Maganjo helps care for a patient who has just had a hip replacement in New Glasgow, N.S., she says her passion for working in health care is fuelled by the reality of growing up on the doorstep of war.

Born in Rwanda, just weeks before the 1994 genocide, she fled with her family to the Democratic Republic of Congo and then on to Kenya, where she lived as a refugee her entire life. Now 29, she came to Canada to be a health-care worker two years ago.

Maganjo was among the first to arrive under a federal program, the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP), intended to recruit skilled refugees to help ease Canada’s shortage of workers.

Now that she’s been in Nova Scotia for two years, she’s calling on governments to make the program more efficient to help others who have been waiting a long time to immigrate to Canada and fill the gaps in the health-care system.

A woman wearing white scrubs and a pink stethoscope poses in a hospital.
Maganjo, 29, who lived her entire life as a refugee, is now a permanent resident in Canada and in the final stages of becoming a registered nurse in Nova Scotia. (Dave Laughlin/CBC )

“I know what it feels like. I know that someone’s life stops in anticipation of what’s to come,” she said in a recent interview with CBC News at Aberdeen Hospital.

Employers in Nova Scotia have made 121 job offers under the program — the greatest number of any province — but only 17 of those people have actually arrived.

‘We do have a significant need’

MacLeod Group Health Services, which owns and operates seven nursing homes across Nova Scotia, is awaiting the arrival of 28 international health-care workers to help staff a new facility it is building to replace its existing one in the town of Mahone

N.S. announces plans for new and expanded health-care clinics

The Nova Scotia government announced plans on Wednesday to expand existing health-care clinics and build new ones between now and 2025. 

Health Minister Michelle Thompson told a news conference that the government would spend $17 million on the 60 sites, which are spread around the province. The money would be for operational costs, recruiting and work required to build or expand sites.

Additional costs would come as new staff begin working at the clinics. Thompson said the government is committed to making “an ongoing investment in primary health care.”

“We know we need to spend the money,” she told reporters.

“We know that primary care is a priority and we know that it’s going to prevent hospitalization, it’s going to prevent, you know, illnesses from progressing.”

Care no matter where you live

The clinics take a variety of forms, all with the intention of improving attachment to primary-care practices and increasing access for patients who have yet to get a provider.

The announcement includes eight new collaborative family practice teams and new after-hours clinics, primary care clinics and urgent treatment centres. Thompson said the expanded offerings would divert more people from emergency departments as their de facto care option and have a “significant impact” on the size of the need-a-family-practice registry, which hit 145,000 people this month.

“We are working to ensure that no matter where you live, you can get the care you need,” she said.

“We said we would fix health care and that is exactly what we are doing.”

Achieving that goal, however, is going to require more people working in the health-care system.

Officials said Thursday that 53 per cent of the positions across all zones have been filled and most of the remaining positions have been posted and are in different stages of the hiring

N.S. government approves law to speed up licensing of health-care practitioners

The Nova Scotia government’s bill to speed up the licensing process for health-care professionals and make it easier to expand their scope of practice passed without amendments on Thursday.

But opposition members say they hope the Tories will make sure the regulations behind the new law will ensure unfit doctors are not given licences here.

The government says it’s a way to get more health-care practitioners working in the province sooner without having to bring in new legislation each time a change needs to be made.

Regulators for professional health-care fields in the province said they supported the spirit of the bill but raised concerns about the way the bill was written, noting it included language that could force them to license an applicant who has disciplinary issues or even a criminal record in another jurisdiction.

Other concerns are recognizing a person’s training, rather than whether they are competent to do certain work. The registrar of the province’s college of physicians and surgeons told MLAs during a committee meeting that he might have training to deliver babies but, given that it’s been 20 years since his last delivery, he could not be considered competent.

Still, the government pushed ahead without amendments, saying they would address any concerns about the bill when the regulations are drafted. Following the vote on Thursday, Health Minister Michelle Thompson said officials in her department would begin working with experts to write the regulations.

A man wearing glasses and a tie.
Nova Scotia Liberal House leader Derek Mombourquette voted in favour of the bill, but hopes the province incorporates the concerns of regulators into the regulations. (Michael Gorman/CBC)

Although the Liberals previously proposed amendments to the bill and voiced concerns that it could compromise patient safety, their MLAs voted in favour of the bill.

Thompson said that “speaks to the fact that it’s

Constant progress manufactured with N.S. unexpected emergency care plan, Health and fitness Division states

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The Nova Scotia Wellness Section states its “moving effectively to make improvements to obtain to treatment in unexpected emergency departments” across the province.

Wellness Section spokeswoman Khalehla Perrault explained the province is implementing its Strengthening Unexpected emergency Treatment prepare, introduced on Jan. 18, with a blend of limited-phrase and extended-expression options.

Perrault and the Overall health Office highlighted numerous factors to demonstrate the progress that is staying built, like the fact that there are now patient advocates in each and every emergency section across the province, of which there are 38, according to a 2021 office report.

Waiting around home treatment companies are now positioned at the Dartmouth Common Clinic and the Queen Elizabeth II Overall health Sciences Centre and postings for care vendors are mentioned for the Yarmouth Regional and South Shore Regional hospitals and the Cobequid Community Wellness Centre, Perrault mentioned.

Hirings are predicted soon at people three amenities.

The Valley Regional Hospital and Colchester East Hants Well being Centre previously have related roles in location, she stated.

The Wellbeing Division rolled out its prepare in January with Minister Michelle Thompson saying it was vital to strengthen emergency care and to be certain folks with the most urgent demands receive care first.

The approach, as introduced, was meant to enhance ambulance reaction times and give more spots for people to obtain treatment, easing force on unexpected emergency departments.

“These steps will strengthen care for Nova Scotians and guidance entrance-line wellbeing-care workers,” Thompson claimed on the day of the rollout.

Tidnish Bridge Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Allison Holthoff died in the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre. Her husband, Gunter Holthoff holds her picture. - Aaron Beswick / File
Tidnish Bridge Fireplace and Rescue Deputy Chief Allison Holthoff died in the Cumberland Regional Well being Treatment Centre. Her spouse, Gunter Holthoff retains her photograph. – Aaron Beswick / File

Tragic loss

The rollout came mere weeks immediately after two tragic

N.S. Brotherhood Initiative provides health care to Black men

The Nova Scotia Brotherhood Initiative is a free program offering Black men access to health care in the Halifax community to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

As part of the initiative, a team of health-care professionals provide culturally-appropriate primary medical care, as well as health and wellness services, for men of African descent across the Halifax Regional Municipality.

According to Nova Scotia Health, the program’s health and wellness services offered include:

  • primary medical care

  • health promotion and wellness education

  • chronic disease management

  • navigation to community resources

  • variety of free health and wellness programs throughout the year

Dr. Ron Milne has worked with the Brotherhood since it started in 2014. Last week, he was honoured by the organization for his contribution and positive impact.

According to Milne, many Black men don’t access health care as often as they should, citing many factors including a lack of trust due to mistreatment in the past by the health-care system.

“Lack of providers who have cultural competence and understand the challenges and issues that Black men face. I think those are some of the issues,” he said. “And lack of providers who look like them, who they feel comfortable with.”

Milne says stigma also has a lot to do with the issue.

“Again, it’s that cultural competence factor coming into it, of having people who understand the issues, the history, the challenges,” said Milne.

As far as some of the medical issues that disproportionately impact Black men, Milne says there still isn’t a good library of data in Canada with that information.

“And one of the things we’ve really pushed for with the government, and the government is committed to providing us

Privacy commissioner phone calls for alterations at N.S. Health and fitness after personnel identified snooping

The province’s information and privacy commissioner is calling on Nova Scotia Health to enhance its privateness practices after investigating intentional breaches by some of its workforce.

In a report introduced on Wednesday, Tricia Ralph said steps are needed to reduce personnel from accessing the particular data of clients for non-remedy functions.

Ralph commenced investigating a collection of privacy breaches in August 2020, immediately after the overall health authority voluntarily noted that it experienced caught eight personnel snooping in the electronic wellness data of persons affiliated with the gatherings of the April 2020 shooting rampage in the province.

Nova Scotia Health and fitness investigated the 8 personnel and discovered that some had snooped into lots of patients’ documents over a range of yrs, in accordance to a news launch issued Wednesday by the Place of work of the Details and Privacy Commissioner.

“They seemed up pals, colleagues, and acquaintances when they ended up not furnishing care to these people today,” the release reported.

The Nova Scotia Wellness investigation wound up uncovering more than 1,200 privateness breaches impacting 270 individuals, the privacy commissioner’s report noted. 

Will need for ‘robust policies’

Ralph explained in her report that many steps taken by the overall health authority were fair. It started to proactively monitor worker entry to digital health info methods in April 2020, for example, which led to the discovery of more privacy breaches.

Having said that, she also decided that there were being shortcomings. She noted that some of the overall health authority’s insurance policies and protocols similar to privacy are outdated, unclear, and in several instances are not being followed.

Portrait of Tricia Ralph, Nova Scotia's information and privacy commissioner
Tricia Ralph, Nova Scotia’s facts and privateness commissioner, says privateness procedures should really be embedded in the tradition of Nova Scotia Wellness. (Business office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner)

“Sturdy procedures,

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