Department of Health redesign to focus on front-line care

Nova Scotia's Department of Health and Wellness announced a redesign Tuesday that will see resources shifted in order to place more focus on front-line health care.

Plan involves reducing staff at the department, shifting programs to the health authority and IWK

Sixty-two positions will be transferred from the Department of Health and Wellness to the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the IWK and the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. (Martin Barraud/Getty Images)

Nova Scotia's Department of Health and Wellness announced a redesign Tuesday that it says will see resources shifted in order to place more focus on front-line health care.

The redesign stems from shifting demands on the department since the consolidation of 10 separate regional Nova Scotia health authorities in 2015.

According to the department, the plan involves reducing staff at the department itself and shifting some of its programs and staff to the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre. 

The shift will impact several branches, including public health, mental health and addictions, health system quality, primary care and physician services.

There will be 100 positions at the department eliminated, with 62 of them being transferred to the health authority, the IWK and the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

According to a department spokesperson, 20 employees were given layoff notices this week. The rest of the positions are either vacant or term.

The department said the redesign will create 25 new positions, which will focus on developing and changing policies to improve overall Nova Scotia health-care results.

"Every decade our health-care spending has gone up, but we aren't becoming any healthier as a result," said Health Minister Leo Glavine in a statement. "It's time to change that by focusing on setting priorities and measuring results, so we know where our health care system most needs to improve."

A department spokesperson said the changes were not made with the intent to save money. The department anticipates the transition will cost up to $1.5 million in severance and other costs, but eventually the government expects the redesign to save about $3.5 million a year.

The changes are expected to come into effect April 1. 

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