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Nova Scotia government pledges $37 million for rural heath care institute


The Nova Scotia government has announced plans to spend $37 million on a new research institute that will focus on improving the health of rural residents.

Premier Tim Houston made the announcement Thursday at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., where the institute will be based.

The province issued a statement saying the Institute for Innovation in Health will study chronic disease prevention and management, rehabilitation and aging in place.

"By focusing on prevention, we can help people lead stronger, healthier lives, which reduces the burden on the health-care system," the premier said in a statement.

"We have a long-term plan for health-care and it's working."

As well, Houston said the institute will offer training for health-care professionals and evaluate new ways of promoting wellness in rural communities. The institute will also have a treatment centre that will expand access to primary care and mental health services.

On Tuesday, Houston announced a $59-million plan to create a new medical school at Cape Breton University in Sydney, N.S., and on Wednesday his government pledged $25 million toward new health data analytics and administration programs at Saint Mary's University in Halifax.

Houston led the Progressive Conservatives to victory in the provincial election in August 2021 with a platform focused on repairing the province's ailing health-care system. But the Tories have been dogged by bad news on that front, especially when it comes to emergency room wait-times and doctor shortages.

Earlier on Thursday, the Opposition Liberals called on Houston to release the latest monthly count of people looking for a family doctor. Liberal Leader Zach Churchill said it is the second consecutive month that the government had failed to release the statistics on time.

Last month's numbers -- withheld for one week -- showed the list had increased by more than 6,000 people. As of Feb. 1, more than 133,000 people were on the registry, up from 86,000 in March 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2023. Top Stories

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