Nova Scotia Election: Tracking party promises on health care

EDITOR’S NOTE: Throughout the 2017 election Global News is tracking the promises each party makes on education, health care, infrastructure, transparency, budgets, diversity, and more. The stories will be updated as parties roll out their promises.

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Health care has become one of the most prominent issues on this election’s campaign trail. The promises have been wide ranging and diverse.

The Liberals’ big election promise during the 2013 election was to provide every family in the province with a doctor. During their mandate that did not happen — and during this campaign, no one has tried to make a similar promise.

The focus of this campaign has shifted to health infrastructure. An issue for all parties has been the redevelopment or replacement of Halifax’s aging Victoria General hospital.

READ MORE: All of our election coverage

Victoria General Hospital

Liberal

Have not released the complete cost for the hospital’s redevelopmentA public-private partnership model is a possibility

Progressive Conservative

Part of Jamie Baillie’s proposed $2-billion infrastructure plan would include a new Victoria General hospitalBaillie says he expects half of the $2 billion to come from Ottawa

NDP

Have said they will not use a public-private partnership funding model for the Victoria General hospital

Health System

Liberal

Will roll out a $116.7-million package to establish more collaborative care clinics and recruit more doctors. $78 million will go towards expanding and creating 70 collaborative care teams.McNeil said doctors will not be forced into collaborative care teams if they still want to work solo.$15 million will roll out over three years for construction and renovations of collaborative care clinics.$11.7 million will create 10 new spaces in the family medicine residency program and $12 million will go towards tuition relief.More than $31 million over four years to help Nova Scotians with disabilities live successfully in their communitiesAn investment of $14.7 million would allow government to create and maintain small options homes, which would allow up to 32 people to live in community-based settings.$25-million investment over four years for caregiver benefit program to expand eligibility to include 400 people caring for those with lower levels of dementia in 2017, and 1,200 caring for those with mental illness in 2018$2.25 million over three years to increase medical consultation support by using video technology$1.5 million over three years to expand Independent Living Support$3 million over four years to expand the Flex Independent Program$750,000 over three years to expand Respite Care Options$1.2 million for design work to expand emergency department at IWK Children’s Hospital

Progressive Conservative

Leader Jamie Baillie has promised that if his party were to form government, they would spend $19.5 million over four years to address the shortage of family doctors and specialists in Nova ScotiaMuch of the money would be spent in the first yearThe PCs would also add $6 million to the tuition relief program to keep new family doctors in Nova Scotia, and recognize the credentials for Nova Scotians who study medicine abroad$7.2 million to extend coverage for oral cancer drugs

NDP

The party will spend $120 million over four years to build new primary care clinics and to hire more doctors, nurses and nurse practitionersWork collaboratively with family doctors to determine what resources are needed in various communitiesSignificantly increase the medical help needed by people who are still without a physician (did not commit to a number)The NDP promised to expand dental care coverage for children under 18.Will implement all recommendations in the Nova Scotia General Employees Union’s Code Critical reportThe party will spend $6 million over four years to double the number of midwives in the provinceMoney from the $6 million will also be used to create a training program for aspiring midwives

Read More: Incumbent Andrew Younger withdraws from Dartmouth East election

Mental health care

Liberal

The Liberals have promised that with a new mandate they will commit $34 million over four years to improve access to mental health services across the province. They’ve promised 51 mental health clinicians will be hired through an expansion of the SchoolPlus program.Creation of a central intake system to ensure patients get the care they needAmong other initiatives is $2 million in funding over two years to pilot four youth health centres in Nova Scotia schoolsThe Liberals have promised the expansion of IWK Children’s Hospital emergency department would improve mental health services for those aged 16 to 19.

Progressive Conservative

Have promised to invest $39.7 million in the mental health systemProviding all students with access to in-school mental health servicesEstablishing Mental Health Crisis Response Centres to divert people undergoing a mental health crisis from emergency rooms to a facility, staffed by trained mental health professionals, to receive appropriate and informed treatment.Creation of a Mental Health and Wellness Institute in concert with a Nova Scotia university and attracting mental health experts.A $250 direct tax rebate for Nova Scotians who, through a medical diagnosis and treatment plan, rely on a psychiatric service dog.

NDP

The NDP says $21.5 million – which comes from the party’s $49.5 million commitment over four years — will go to a second mental health strategy, picking up where the 2009 NDP government’s left off$25 million on three pilot mental health hubs in emergency rooms in Halifax, Kentville and Sydney in an effort to speed up access to care

Seniors Long-term Care

Liberal

The Liberals have said $3.2 million was promised in last month’s proposed budget  — which was not passed before the election call — to increase food budgets and improve recreational therapy programming in long-term care facilities.

Progressive Conservative

The PCs have promised to spend $32.8 million over four years to reverse cuts to long term careThe party will freeze the cost share ratio for seniors’ pharmacare

NDP

Will restore $8 million cut to nursing homesThe NDP have promised to freeze pharmacare premiums and lobby for a national pharmacare program

Section of Toronto’s financial district remains closed after hydro vault explosions

A section of King Street just west of Yonge Street in Toronto’s financial district will remain closed for most of the day following a series of explosions during the evening rush hour on Monday.

The blasts, blamed on an overheated hydro vault fire, shut down the area at about 5 p.m. and sent commuters scrambling. There were no reports of any injuries.

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Thick black smoke was seen billowing from a set of sidewalk grates in front of a Royal Bank office building near King and Yonge.

Toronto Hydro said crews have been working through the night to conduct repairs to the vault. However, workers were forced out just after midnight when they noticed smoke.

“We determined that it was a conduit that was leading down into the transformer that was smoking,” Toronto Fire Platoon Chief Kevin Aucoin said. “The crews backed out and our guys put small amounts of water and CO2 trying to contain it.”

WATCH: Toronto Fire and Toronto Hydro investigating cause of underground hydro vault fire that erupted Monday afternoon at King and Bay. Ashley Carter reports. (May 1)

Fire official said firefighters remain on standby just in case there are any flare-ups.

“The problem is we have a live transformer next to a transformer that is blown,” Aucoin explained. “We have to be very careful not to use too much water so that we could have a problem with the backup transformer beside it —; that’s powering the backup generators right now.”

Hydro officials said the vault had to be “de-energized” last night before crews were allowed to pump the rain water out and conduct repairs.

“We went in and we know the area is severely damaged. Yesterday there was a lot of rainfall, so that is a potential culprit here,” Toronto Hydro spokesperson Brian Buchan said. “If the vault did flood, then that would be devastating for the vault itself.”

READ MORE: Hydro vault fire in downtown Toronto to blame for heavy smoke, underground explosions

Toronto Fire Platoon Chief Kevin Shaw said the fire was smoldering early Tuesday morning as firefighters attempted to extinguish it without damaging the transformer, which powers Royal Bank’s computer system.

“So we cannot get water on that,” Shaw said earlier in the day. “We tried CO2 and small amounts of water. If that’s not successful then we’ll stand by until Royal Bank has some IT people coming in and they’ll do whatever they have to do to secure their computer systems.”

Hydro officials said the plan is to reroute the power to the building temporarily until the broken transformer is replaced.

“That would get the customer back on and in the meantime then we would do a permanent fix that would take some time,” Buchan said.

Toronto Hydro says scene of downtown explosion remains very active

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Toronto Hydro says scene of downtown explosion remains very active

01:50

Underground explosions force closure of busy downtown Toronto streets

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Toronto fire and hydro investigate cause of downtown fire



The vault explosions shut down the King subway station on Monday and caused several streetcars to take detours.

Both the 504 and 514 routes continue to be diverted on Tuesday.

The underground PATH system was also evacuated including the buildings adjacent to the explosions.

Fire officials said the Royal Bank building will remain closed for the day while other businesses in the area are open.

-With files from Nick Westoll