NL introduces legislation for single health authority
November 16, 2022
ST. JOHN’S, NL – Proposed legislation to create a single health authority for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador was introduced earlier this month in the House of Assembly. If passed, the new Provincial Health Authority Act will facilitate the integration of the existing four health authorities and the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI) into one entity.
“The new Provincial Health Authority Act will support the transition to a single provincial health authority and fulfil the mandate of providing uniform, quality healthcare to all residents of the province, regardless of where they live. The goal of this transition is to create more consistency in healthcare throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as avoid duplication in associated corporate services, thereby enhancing the delivery of important healthcare services,” said Honourable Tom Osborne (pictured), minister of health and community services.
Announced as part of Budget 2022, the Provincial Government has begun the process of integrating the existing four health authorities into one entity, with a view to streamlining programs and services, as well as associated corporate services such as human resources, payroll and finance. In April of this year, Mr. David Diamond was named the transitional CEO for the establishment of the single health authority and has been leading the transition team since that time.
Given the importance of ensuring the new authority structure is reflective of all regions of the province, the legislation proposes creating Regional Health Councils. These councils would be responsible for advising the provincial health authority on the particular needs of various areas of the province to deliver healthcare at the regional level.
The legislation also proposes creating a Quality Council, appointed by Lieutenant-Governor in Council, that will be responsible for, among other things, reporting to the Minister of Health and Community Services on the quality and performance of the health system. In the spirit of transparency, the Bill requires the minister to release reports on the quality and performance of the health system to the public.
Bill 20 also proposes to task the new provincial health authority with the responsibilities and duties of the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information. This will help ensure that the health authority is well-positioned to meet the needs of the provincial health system and pursue the tremendous opportunities of digital technology in healthcare.
Employment impacts resulting from the creation of a single health authority will be managed primarily through attrition and other efficiencies, and it is anticipated that employees would be offered meaningful, comparable alterative employment in the new health authority.