Premier kicks off province-wide health-care tour with stops in northeastern N.S.
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston kicked off his province-wide healthcare tour on Monday with stops in New Glasgow, Guysborough and Cape Breton.
It's been a little more than a month since Houston was elected after a campaign rife with promises to fix what he called the province's broken health care system.
On Monday, Houston was in Sydney speaking with paramedics on the first day of his province-wide health care tour.
"There's a lot of people who just feel overwhelmed," Houston said. "People have shared with me the level of anxiety they feel just getting ready to go to their shift."
Dr. Margaret Fraser calls today's visit a first step towards a promise kept.
"I'm hopeful that this is more than a photo-op," Fraser said. "Time will tell."
She says while long-term solutions for Nova Scotia's emergency room woes will take at least four to six years, she's hoping Houston will hear out some short-term suggestions from ER workers, such as temporary expansion of the emergency room here at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
"If the emergency department were a bathtub, the drain has got a serious clog in it -- and it needs a bad dose of Drano," Fraser said.
Another hot-button topic during the election campaign was a glaring ambulance shortage province-wide.
The union that represents Nova Scotia paramedics is hoping other issues will be addressed, too.
"They did campaign on a promise to fix health care," said Michael Nickerson, the president of paramedics union in Nova Scotia. "And we will hold their feet to the fire."
At a polling station today, the premier's health-care promises weren't far from voters' minds.
"We need so much help," said one voter. "And mental health care as well - it's not just physical."
Earlier in the day, the premier toured hospitals in New Glasgow and Guysborough, then he was off to meet front-line health care providers from the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
"Our whole team feels the urgency to really support our health care professionals," Houston said. "That's how we'll keep them -- and that's how we'll recruit more."
The four-day "Speak Up For Health Care Tour" runs until Thursday.