Ng wants more details from health boards


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT Health and Social Services Minister Kelvin Ng is ordering health boards in the Keewatin and Baffin regions to prove their proposed changes to health-care delivery make sense.

He’s also demanding that health boards be more transparent.

The directives are contained in a Department of Health report, made public Thursday.

“Part of the problem, quite frankly is that us, as a department, were a bit too far back on this whole issue,” Ng said. “As the boards started to contemplate these changes, we should have been right there to see what they were planning on doing and seeing if it made sense.”

The Baffin Regional Health and Social Services Board recently voted to switch its contract for specialist services from Montreal to Ottawa. Ng said such a change clearly requires a more thorough analysis than has been provided.

“They say they’re going to save $400,000 to $450,000, based on administration costs of this contract they have with McGill. What we’re saying to them is there’s other costs besides that that have to be factored in: What is the difference in schedules for specialist services? And what’s the cost of establishing a new referral and boarding service in Ottawa?”

The health board review also contains directives for the Keewatin Regional Health Board.

“I want them to tell me specifically where their general practitioner coverage is going to be for Keewatin residents, and also their plans for GP coverage in the future,” Ng said.

Both boards have been asked to outline the specialist services they expect to deliver to their clients and to clearly explain any changes to these services.

And both boards have been asked to develop communiciations plans “to alleviate the concerns of the public.”

Ng also said the Health and Social Services Department would monitor health-board operations more closely in the future.

“We have a responsibility to provide as much support as possible to them and we’re going to try to intervene now, and become more pro-active in these changes,” he said.

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