NL Gazette

Provincial health authorities to be tucked into a single board

Nfld and Labrador

Key takeaways: 

  • N.L. government to incorporate ambulance services, form single health faculty.
  • Health Minister John Haggie and Finance Minister Siobhan Coady state amalgamating the four health authorities will develop more consistency in health care across Newfoundland and Labrador.

The 2022 Newfoundland and Labrador regional budget had sweeping changes to health care — but it isn’t yet obvious how those changes will impact patients.

Newfoundland and Labrador spend more per capita on health care than any other region, and it will pay even more this year. The government intends to spend around $3.4 billion on health care in 2022, representing 38 percent of this year’s budget. 

All four provincial health authorities are being integrated into one, which will govern the entire province. During her funding speech, Finance Minister Siobhan Coady said the amalgamation is being done to avoid repetition and provide thickness.

“It will enhance decision-making with streamlined processes, effective reporting structures, data management, and accountability,” she stated.

The 2021 statement by the premier’s financial recovery team urged integrating Eastern Health, Central Health, Western Health, and Labrador-Grenfell Health into one province-wide health authority, but this is the first substantial measure in that direction. 

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The 2022 Newfoundland and Labrador regional budget had sweeping changes to health care

Health Minister John Haggie said Thursday the amalgamation would take 12-18 months, and most of the changes will affect the administration rather than front-line workers.

“This is about the back end. This is not regarding healthcare provision at the front end,” Haggie stated.

Provincial input vital: Opposition

P.C. opposition health analyst Tony Wakeham, an ex-CEO of Labrador-Grenfell Health, said the government ought to ensure the new regional health authority doesn’t ignore the rural area of the region, especially Labrador.

“Labrador must be recognized for its uniqueness and challenges in healthcare delivery,” Wakeham stated.

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