Pre and post-natal service cuts raising alarm bells

The new direction of public health in Nova Scotia has two former nurses ringing the alarm bells.

Two former nurses say cuts will affect all new families in Nova Scotia

In many health districts, prenatal classes have already been cancelled because people often get that information online.

The new direction of public health in Nova Scotia has two former nurses ringing the alarm bells.

Vicki MacLean and Ina Major say the reduction of prenatal classes and home visits will affect all new families in Nova Scotia.

The pair say they can't believe how different public health looks now, compared to when they cared for new mothers.

Major retired as a public health nurse in 2004, while MacLean stepped back five years ago.

"Taking the word service out of public health indicates that no longer are there going to be services such as prenatal education and home visitation," said MacLean.

Those are two areas changing right across the province.

In many health districts, prenatal classes have already been cancelled because, more and more,  people are getting that information online.

The Department of Health and Wellness told CBC universal postpartum followups for infants and families will no longer be provided by public health.

During postpartum followup appointments, nurses often check in on the mother giving her an opportunity to address any concerns she may have. 

Major says she doesn't understand why the province is going backward.

"I find it difficult because at the time that I worked, we offered the home visit to everybody and I don't ever remember getting a refusal. It wasn't always obvious, which people were going to need the support, and it crossed all economic barriers," she said.

Officials with the health department say the shift has nothing to do with money, but MacLean doesn't buy it.

"Thirty-seven years of working in that field, it's always about money," she said.

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