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'We will get this right': N.S. announces $59 million in funding for new medical campus amid health-care crisis

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The Nova Scotia government is spending $58.9 million to develop the province's second medical school campus at the Cape Breton University in Sydney, N.S., within the next two years.

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston made the announcement during a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Sydney.

“The best way to make sure rural Nova Scotians have access to the health care they need is to train students who come from rural communities,” said Houston in a press release.

“This campus will focus on Nova Scotians who are excited to practice in rural communities. These students will become doctors who are ready to hit the ground running faster in our rural communities.”

According to Houston, the new school will train 30 new doctors every year, in collaboration with Dalhousie University’s faculty of medicine.

It will also include a new collaborative care clinic at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Marconi campus in Sydney and an expansion of Cape Breton University’s (CBU) health and counselling centre.

“We need to provide better, faster care, and this second medical campus will do that by transforming the way in which we deliver care to Nova Scotians," said Health Minister Michelle Thompson in the release.

"This campus will train doctors with a focus on the care needs of rural Nova Scotians, and directly offer care to more Cape Bretoners who need it."

The province says CBU's health and counselling centre will become a key clinical training facility and its expansion will address the increased demand for health care among students.

According the news release, a new medical sciences building will be the cornerstone of the Cape Breton medical campus, housing educational and research space to train the next generation of family doctors.

Their education will include special training in rural health needs such as aging, frailty and disease prevention, as well as Indigenous health and African Nova Scotia health.

The funding announced Tuesday includes $49 million for the medical sciences building and related infrastructure, $6.2 million for the new clinic and $3.7 million to expand the health and counselling centre.

"We will get this right. We will get it right for the long term. The work is not done but today, we are closer," said Houston during the press conference. "And I will not rest until we get there, and we will get there."

"I will say, in terms of this medical school, I know it will be everything that this province needs it to be. I know this will work."

Houston originally announced plans for the new medical campus on Jan. 27 but did not provide details on funding at that time.

The president of CBU, David Dingwall, referred to Tuesday's announcement as a "monumental day."

"This investment is nothing short of transformational. It is the single largest investment in the history of Cape Breton University by any government ever," said Dingwall during the live news conference. "

Houston said the province's second medical school campus is scheduled to be complete by fall 2025.

For full coverage of Nova Scotia news, visit our dedicated page.

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