Nova Scotia

Capital Health to reduce spending by $36.2M

Budget cuts and job reductions are looming at Nova Scotia's largest health authority, which has just approved a new three-year business plan that will cut spending by $36.2 million over three years.
Budget cuts and job reductions are looming at Nova Scotia's largest health authority. (CBC)

Budget cuts and job reductions are looming at Nova Scotia's largest health authority, which has just approved a new three-year business plan that will cut spending by $36.2 million over three years.

The Capital District Health Authority's board of directors approved the 2011-14 business plan on Thursday, according to a news release posted on the authority's website.

"Developed mainly from ideas submitted by people from throughout the organization, the plan contains some changes that will challenge us," Chris Power, the president and CEO of Capital Health, said in the release.

"This should not be surprising: in health care, we have known for years that significant changes to improve the health of our citizens and the system itself would be tough."

The new business plan reduces spending at Capital Health's hospitals by $36.2 million over three years.

This year there will be an $18.97-million cut, followed by a $9.5-million cut next year and a $7.7-million cut the year after.

The health authority is expecting to eliminate 270 full-time positions over three years with retirements, resignations and work reassignments.

"Layoffs are a last resort and, if necessary, will happen in accordance with collective agreements and other contracts," Power wrote.

In the first year — fiscal 2011-12, which started April 1 — the operating budget for Capital Health is $787.4 million.

Spending on clinical care will be reduced by $6.8 million in the first year, while non-clinical care will be reduced by $4.9 million.

The budget tabled by Nova Scotia's NDP government earlier this week maintained the health budget at $3.7 billion — the biggest single expense. The province's nine district health authorities and the IWK Health Centre were already told in March that they will have to make do without any funding increases this year.

"You may recall that there is no change in government funding this fiscal year compared with last year’s budget, which in effect means a shortfall for Capital Health because of estimated wage increases and rising costs in goods and services," Power wrote.

The plan now goes to the Department of Health and Wellness for approval.

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