In advance of the Nova Scotia provincial election on Tuesday, May 30th, The Arthritis Society, Atlantic Division, provided an opportunity for the Liberal Party to take part in a survey regarding their vision for the province and for people living with arthritis.
"This election is about which party has the best vision for the province," the Liberal Party said via email. "By providing us with the opportunity to connect with your (Arthritis Society) membership, we feel we can best highlight who we are and where we stand on issues that are important to your organization’s membership. Only together can we build on a stronger Nova Scotia."
The responses below represent the views of the 51 Liberal Candidates in the 2017 Nova Scotia provincial election:
1. First, we are asking that you declare your support for reducing wait times for surgical replacement of knees and hips. The tens of thousands of Nova Scotians living with osteoarthritis must currently endure the longest wait times in Canada for joint replacements. Will you commit to reducing these wait times and, more specifically, what precise steps will you take to ensure this goal is achieved?
Hip and knee surgeries continue to take longer than they should. The Liberal Government increased funding by $8.1 million each year as part of the “long waiter” strategy and has completed an additional 2,200 surgeries. These investments have helped, but it is clear, there is more to be done.
A re-elected Liberal Government will work with the NSHA to reduce waits for hip and knee surgeries. In 2017-18, we will invest an additional $2.7 million to complete an additional 400 surgeries and $1 million to enhance prehabilitation which will help patients have more successful surgeries. – or even avoid surgery.
Going forward, the Nova Scotia Health Authority will be instructed to create a central booking process, increase OR utilization and provide improved education/direction on patient options. They will continue to enhance prehabilitation options and create designated orthopaedic centres. This will help us to continue to make progress on reducing the waitlist.
The Liberal Party is the only party that acknowledges the waitlist and has a plan to address the issue of hip and knee replacements in the platform.
2. Second, access to care for those living with inflammatory arthritis is particularly lacking in many communities of Nova Scotia. Will you commit to the development of an evidence-based model of care for inflammatory arthritis in Nova Scotia and to fund the extension of early diagnosis and wider access to both care and needed medications?
Our Liberal Government would like to thank the Arthritis Society for the leadership role they played in the development of and participation on the Inflammatory Arthritis Working Group. Over a year ago, the Department received the final report from the Working Group. The Nova Scotia Health Authority currently has the report and the Director of Chronic of Disease
Management, a new role within the NSHA will have responsibility for implementation of the recommendations which includes the development of an evidence-based model of high quality IA care. The NSHA looks forward to working with the Department of Health and Wellness and other groups to plan for improvements in early detection and support for those living with Inflammatory Arthritis.
Of interest to the Arthritis Society would be the commitment we made in our platform around collaborative care. A re-elected Liberal Government would invest $78 million over the next four years to create or expand collaborative teams. This will ensure Nova Scotians receive the care they need when they need it from their primary health care providers. These teams will help us better treat and manage chronic disease like IA their goal will be to offer same-day or next-day appointments.
3. Third, will you commit to being an arthritis champion by promoting and/or attending the Walk to Fight Arthritis in Halifax (June 4), Berwick (June 4) or Sydney (June 11)?