Statement in response to Nov. 22, 2017 report of the Office of the Auditor General

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s 2016-2019 strategic plan Healthier Together identified three key directions:

  • person-centred, high-quality, safe and sustainable health and wellness for Nova Scotians
  • a healthy, high-performing workforce
  • engagement with Nova Scotians to create a healthier future together

That’s work we’re focused on internally every day as we work to continuously improve, access, care and service delivery for Nova Scotians. Our improvement efforts are aided by the input of external reviewers such as our recent Accreditation Canada survey and the Auditor General, who provide valuable, independent perspectives on our operations. We see these reports as an opportunity to understand what we are doing well and what we can do better.

The Auditor General’s recent reviews on mental health services, family doctor resourcing and home care contract management provide three clear messages that align with our strategic plan and priorities.

Get on with the work you were created to do:

The chapter on Mental Health and Addictions asks us to complete and implement service delivery plans and ensure care models are based on evidence. This is work that began within months of the creation of our organization. We know Nova Scotians are eager to see change and improvement in this and other areas and so are we. Much of the foundational work is done—we’ve gathered the evidence, worked on required policy and information supports, met with staff and physicians for their input and feedback and will soon go out to meet with partners and the public to finalize actions for implementation. We will see a more effective and sustainable system come from this work.

Help people to understand what you’re doing and why:

Recommendations of the family doctor resourcing audit tell us Nova Scotians may not understand how we are approaching the challenges with access to primary care. It’s a complex problem with multi-faceted solutions—but for those without access to a family practice and who are worried about their health, the basic need is very clear. As we continue to work to meet those immediate needs, we’ll make a renewed effort to communicate how our approach to team-based primary health care, will benefit patients, providers and the whole health system.

Make sure care provided is meeting expectations or is addressed if it is not:

The Home Support Contract Management Audit focuses on our work with external home care providers, but reinforces the importance of monitoring, measuring and analyzing our performance in all areas and acting on the results of that analysis to correct what is not working well and continually improve our services. Our work to develop and report on performance indicators continues to improve, and we use that information in turn to improve the quality of our services and services provided on our behalf.

As one organization serving the province, our focus is on ensuring we have a system that looks at the needs of the people we serve and delivers the best health and wellness services for everyone in Nova Scotia. Improving access, care and service delivery in core areas such as primary health care, mental health and addictions, home care, cancer care and orthopedic surgery, is critical to our success.

Health, and the health system, matters to all Nova Scotians and we all want the same thing - an effective and accessible system that provides the care people need and helps them to live well. We are committed to providing information and opportunity for the public, stakeholders, staff and physicians, to be part of conversations about how we can evolve our health system so that it works today and into the future.

To that end, we began a series of stakeholder conversations about primary health care earlier this month and are planning to host community conversations in 2018.