N.S. government plan for health care to be released Friday

·2 min read
Premier Tim Houston says the plan was delayed following further feedback from stakeholders. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
Premier Tim Houston says the plan was delayed following further feedback from stakeholders. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

After a three-week delay, the Nova Scotia government's health-care plan will be released Friday.

The plan was originally slated to be ready by the end of March. On Wednesday, Premier Tim Houston said he hoped the plan would be ready soon, although he could not say when. His office later confirmed the end-of-week release for the document.

Houston told reporters at Province House that he's seen a draft of the plan. He said changes were made following further consultation with stakeholders and that's what accounts for the delay.

"We've done a lot of work," he said. "We want to make sure that what we put out is meaningful and productive."

Robert Short/CBC
Robert Short/CBC

The Tories won last summer's provincial election largely based on a campaign that they were the party to fix health care. The aim of the health-care plan is to spell out how to tackle the challenges within the system.

But Liberal Leader Iain Rankin said he thinks the Tories "overpromised" during the campaign and are now realizing just how challenging it is to address problems in the health-care system.

"I said in the campaign that their promises were unrealistic," he said.

"I think they're trying to find a way to buy themselves more time so that at the three- and four-year mark [of their mandate] they're going to say, 'We need more time. We need another mandate to accomplish what we said we could do within months.'"

Robert Short/CBC
Robert Short/CBC

NDP Leader Gary Burrill said the delays releasing the plan indicate to him that the Tories' "enormous self-marketing" as the only party capable of fixing health care "has been grossly overstated."

Burrill said the Tory election message was "a terrible oversimplification" of the situation and "they are not able to meet or measure up to the promises that they've made."

Those promises include reducing surgery wait times to the national average within 18 months and major recruitment targets for doctors and nurses.

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