Health authority merger structure unveiled in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia health officials tout benefits of combining health authority

The Nova Scotia government has unveiled the new, leaner health structure it plans to launch on April 1 — a provincial health authority with significantly fewer top bureaucrats.

​Janet Knox, the woman who will head the authority, said there will be nine vice-presidents instead of the 33 currently in place across the province.

Knox is pleased with the size of the new executive structure, which was designed by a transition team put in place specifically to manage the move from nine district health authorities to one.

"They came up with this model, which I like. I think I can manage this," said Knox.

She said one of the vice-presidents will have a shared responsibility between the provincial authority and the IWK Health Centre, which will be its own health authority.

The senior executive team for the provincial authority will work out of Halifax.

There will also be offices in the four administrative health regions. Each one will have two senior executives, one in charge of medical issues and the other responsible for overall operations.

Zone offices at existing facilities

Those zone offices will be located in existing health facilities, said Knox.

"For example, in the Annapolis Valley it's in the industrial park. We'll just use that same office," she said.

"Half of the building is mental health and addictions and the warehouse is the other quarter and there's a few office spaces. We'll use the same office space."

Knox said she is excited at the prospect of heading a province-wide authority, which she claims will be better able to manage health-care resources.

"The best thing is we will have a provincial view always, to say, 'What do we need in Nova Scotia?' We will be tracking and monitoring our progress in terms of, 'Are we becoming a healthier population?'" she said.

"Are we making health care more accessible across our province and we will have the ability to move resources to where they're needed to be. There won't be a negotiation about that. We will be looking at the whole province always. For me that's the big plus."