N.S. hospitals need another $85M for urgent repairs
June 22, 2016
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s hospitals need a quick injection of $85 million to repair crumbling walls, pipes and elevators, says the province’s auditor general. As well, Michael Pickup (pictured) said concentrating care in the province’s hospitals is something that won’t be viable in the long run.
“The historical approach to healthcare delivery, with a heavy focus on hospital-based care, is not sustainable given the province’s fiscal situation,” in a new report.
“A new approach, with less emphasis on hospitals and more focus on providing the right type of care in the right location is required.”
Pickup’s report said while some change has already occurred, more work is needed to “provide healthcare to Nova Scotians into the future.” He said the lack of money available for capital funding to complete urgent repairs at hospitals across the province is of immediate concern.
Currently, $29 million is available to address infrastructure needs when about $114 million is needed, according to the report.
Pickup said the shortfall is for urgent needs alone and doesn’t even consider day-to-day maintenance requirements.
The report says preventative maintenance is needed and cites examples such as elevator work that hasn’t been completed at the South Shore Regional Hospital and steel beams required to hold bricks in place because of mortar deterioration at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
It says work is still needed on the leaky roof at the Dartmouth General Hospital, which has already caused damage to the newly renovated floor below it, while a new automated lab at the Victoria General Hospital site is in a building with a risk of leaks from old pipes.
Staff at the North Cumberland Memorial Hospital, built in the 1960s, also told auditors the facility has been in need of major infrastructure improvements for almost a decade and that the existing building is “in very poor condition.”
In addition, the report says the New Waterford Consolidated and North Cumberland Memorial Hospital do not have sprinkler systems.
Pickup says the health system needs to assess the location and use of its facilities throughout the province in order to determine how best to use limited resources to deliver efficient care.
There are 41 hospitals in Nova Scotia, some within 30 minutes of each other, and the Health Department needs to determine whether care can be provided through alternate means in a community or at nearby hospitals, said Pickup.
“The large funding gap … makes it clear that Nova Scotia’s health system cannot reasonably sustain its current facilities,” the report says.