Ambulance costs at the center of the campaign day in Nova Scotia

Ambulance costs at the center of the campaign day in Nova Scotia

Halifax – Nova Scotia’s progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston has begun the third day of the election campaign with the central theme of his campaign: health care gaps.

Mr Houston appeared at a press conference Monday with Michael Knickerson of the Associated Medical Association and said ordering pizza in the state was often quicker than getting service from an ambulance.

Mr Nickerson, of the International Union of Operator Engineers, said there were 12 reports of two or fewer ambulances being received in different districts of the province in the past 24 hours.

He thanked Mr Houston for inviting him, but said his presence at the press conference did not mean his union had duly endorsed Tory policies.

The leader of the official opposition has said that if he wins power, his government will add $ 127 million to the health budget and that improving primary care will help reduce the pressure on ambulance services.

Houston said on Monday that a Conservative government would consider increasing the budget for emergency services.

The NDP also focused on health care in its Monday announcement, stressing that it would end tariffs on ambulance use.

Party leader Gary Burrell met with Donica Bettibas, who allegedly received four ambulance bills for trips between Halifax Hospital, the Covid 19 unit and an active hospital. He said two bills for ambulance fees related to COVID-19 have been canceled but two more bills could not be removed.

Burrill said an NDP government would certainly eliminate ambulance fees for all Nova Scots, distinguishing his party from the Progressive Conservatives on this issue. Mr Houston did not agree to the removal of the charge because it would allow people to use the ambulance to avoid an expensive hospital stay.

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Meanwhile, Liberal leader Ian Rankin lasted Monday on economic issues, announcing that the re-elected Liberal government would invest $ 45 million over five years to renew a plan to encourage businesses to invest in clean technology.

He made the announcement during a facility tour of the Den Han Greenhouse in Laurentown, where the company used a similar scheme to purchase energy-efficient LED lights for crops.

In March, the Liberal government released a report on the provincial ambulance system by the US company Fitch & Associates. A study submitted in 2019 found that ambulances spend more time on non-productive and non-emergency operations. Health Minister Zach Churchill said many of the recommendations were being implemented at the time, and the report’s data did not recommend a general increase in waiting times in the province, although those challenges remain.

When the legislature was dissolved and elections were called on Saturday, the Liberals won 24 of the 51 seats and the Progressive Conservatives 17 seats. The New Democrats had five seats, three independents and two vacancies.

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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