Nfld. & Labrador

Health care issues outlined at summit, but no clear solutions

Premier Paul Davis held a summit on Newfoundland and Labrador's health care in St. John's Wednesday, looking at the major challenges and issues in the province's health care system.
Premier Paul Davis, seen with Health Minister Steve Kent, says the next step to finding solutions in health care is coming up with an action plan. (CBC)

Premier Paul Davis held a summit on Newfoundland and Labrador's health care in St. John's Wednesday, looking at the major challenges and issues in the province's health care system.

The meeting was a promise Davis made during the Progressive Conservative leadership race before he became premier.

Hundreds of people gathered to come up with ideas and solutions to help improve the health services provided in the province.

The summit was preceded by a round of health care consultation around the province.

Davis said many of the issues brought to his attention weren't new to him, including long wait times and short clinic hours, a lack of coverage for some services, and poor access to mental health.

He added the overall purpose of Wednesday's summit was to hear ideas from health care professionals about possible solutions to these issues.

"The next actions steps that need to take place is the development of a primary health care action plan," said Davis.

"That's what this summit is about — it's about finding better ways and best practices to deliver best care to people of the province, no matter where they live."

Health Minister Steve Kent said government wants to walk away from the summit with a plan for delivering health care.

"We have lots of work left to do in health care and we need to constantly improve health care outcomes, we need to constantly improve how we’re delivering health care services," said Kent.

Dr. Wendy Graham, president of the province’s medical association, said there are a lot of challenges when it comes to health care reform.

"We certainly have a long way to go, and that involves all the aspects that we're talking about today, from prevention to treatment amongst all the different sectors, all the professionals," said Graham.

While there’s agreement on what issues need to be tackled to reform health care, government has reported a looming deficit of $900-million and there’s no clear-cut path for solutions.

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