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Wait times

Wait times projects announced in Nova Scotia

SACKVILLE, N.S. – Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health and Chris D’Entremont, Nova Scotia Minister of Health, have announced further progress on Patient Wait Times Guarantees with an investment of up to $8 million for two pilot projects in Nova Scotia. These new projects will test patient wait time guarantees in the areas of diagnostic imaging and orthopaedic surgical services.

“Our government is committed to working with the provinces and territories to provide patients with the medical attention they need, and deserve, in a timely manner. That is why I joined the Prime Minister last year to announce that Patient Wait Time Guarantees would be introduced across the country,” said Minister Clement. “These projects we’re announcing today will help Nova Scotian patients who require orthopedic and diagnostic imaging services get the care they need when they need it.”

The first of the two projects aims to improve access to orthopaedic surgical services by building a strong, province-wide information network and by testing alternative care options when wait times are exceeded. It will streamline access to orthopaedic services through a surgical care network, giving patients more options as to when and where they receive care.

The second project aims to improve access to diagnostic imaging services, improve efficiencies in diagnostic imaging practices, and engage patients in the process along the way. It will aid doctors in ordering the most appropriate diagnostic services while empowering patients to make informed decisions.

“Timely access to quality healthcare is a priority for Nova Scotians. That’s why we were the first in the country to work with the Federal government and commit to a Wait Time Guarantee for radiation therapy,” said d’Entremont. “These new pilot projects are another important step toward more Nova Scotians having faster access to the diagnostic and orthopedic care they deserve.”

The federal Budget 2007 announced the direct investment of more than $1 billion in new funding towards the advancement of Patient Wait Time Guarantees. This included some $30 million for pilot projects that will support provinces and territories to test innovative approaches to advancing and establishing Patient Wait Time Guarantees. A key component will be facilitating the best outcomes for patients by offering alternative care options, where wait times are exceeded.

The announcement of the first two projects under the Patient Wait Time Guarantee Pilot Project Fund advances the government’s ongoing commitment to ensure timely access to healthcare. Strengthening healthcare is a long-term challenge that requires a combination of leadership, partnership and foresight from patients, healthcare providers and governments, according to the federal health department.

The government of Canada is actively working with other provincial and territorial governments to finalize agreements on additional pilot projects to develop and test patient wait time guarantees. Further announcements on investments under this $30 million initiative can be expected in the coming weeks and months, according to a news release.