Budget will help patients: Eastern Health
The head of Eastern Health says Newfoundland and Labrador's budget will cut down on waiting times, improve services and pave the way for new facilities.
"There's lots here. It's very good for us," said Vickie Kaminski, who moved from Sudbury last year to take over as Eastern Health's chief executive officer.
"It's nice to be in a 'have' province."
Finance Minister Tom Marshall tabled a $7.58 billion budget on Monday that includes record spending on health care, with a hike of more than 10 per cent from the current fiscal year.
Much of that money will head to Eastern Health, which is by far the province's largest health authority, and which also manages many tertiary services for the entire province.
Kaminski said one change — about $1.1 million to cut down surgery wait times — will yield immediate results.
"[It's] a big, big change for us in operating rooms," she said. The program will add about a dozen nurses, a clerk and two personal care attendants, who will be assigned to two operating rooms that are currently located within the Janeway children's hospital.
"We've taken some room over and we've added two operating rooms and that'll free up capacity then at Health Sciences," she said, referring to the province's largest hospital.
The budget included detail after detail of spending, including $413,000 for a hyperbaric chamber that has been out of commission for more than a year. The budget will allow Eastern Health to hire three diving supervisors and a nurse to work for the chamber, as well as specialized equipment.
The budget addresses some health problems that have commanded public attention, including $482,000 for child psychiatric services at the Janeway.
Kaminski also welcomed funding for an adult addictions centre for Harbour Grace.
"It's good spot to be. It's a very peaceful, therapeutic area and with buildings already there. It means we can refurbish at a much cheaper cost than it would be to build, so [it's] a really good initiative to get something going there," she said.