the creation of a Physician Resource Plan to determine the right number of doctors needed for communities across the province starting an emergency department coverage program where a pool of available doctors help fill shifts in hospitals in rural Nova Scotia implementing the province’s first mental health and addictions strategy helping seniors in nursing homes avoid trips to the emergency department by launching the award-winning Extended Care Paramedic program, where skilled paramedics treat the elderly at home reducing ambulance fees for those living in long-term care to $50 and introducing the Ambulance Fee Assistance Program that waives the cost of the ambulance transport for low income Nova Scotians. increasing public awareness of 811 and 911 to relieve pressure on emergency rooms. Since April, 78,222 people received help – 9,200 a month – by calling the 811 nurse line to get self-directed care and advice from a registered nurse over the phone. In the coming year, more work will be done on implementing the Better Care Sooner plan. The Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow will soon begin a redevelopment of its emergency room based on revisions Dr. Ross recommended to better meet the needs of seniors. District Health Authorities will also begin implementing new emergency department standards. For more information on Better Care Sooner visit bettercaresooner.novascotia.ca Thousands of Nova Scotians are seeing health-care providers faster because of the province’s Better Care Sooner plan. Patients like Wanitta Gregory, of Young’s Cove, Annapolis Co., noticed significant improvements in the province’s health-care system because of this plan, including fewer emergency room closures with the opening of six new Collaborative Emergency Centres (CECs). “What a difference,” said Ms. Gregory, who has used the new centre in Annapolis Royal. “I got into my appointment on time and the doctor I saw really took the time to go over everything with me and answer my questions. I wasn’t rushed and everyone was really supportive and friendly at the centre. David Wilson, Minister of Health and Wellness said government committed to change health care in Nova Scotia in 2010 when Better Care Sooner was launched. “This plan, with its bold steps, is improving health care and making life better for families across Nova Scotia,” said Mr. Wilson. “With Better Care Sooner guiding the way, we have opened six CECs, five in the last year alone.” Better Care Sooner is based on the recommendations of Dr. John Ross, the province’s emergency care advisor. Two years ago, Dr. Ross noted that many Nova Scotians would wait far too long to see their family doctor and small rural emergency departments were frequently closed. The creation of six new collaborative emergency centres in Parrsboro, Annapolis Royal, Springhill, Tatamagouche, Pugwash and Musquodoboit Harbour are the cornerstones of the success of Better Care Sooner. Two are in the planning stage for New Waterford and Lunenburg, and more are expected to be announced in 2013. Both Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island are planning to implement similar models. By matching the level of services with the needs of residents in rural communities, CECs keep emergency rooms open, reduce patient wait times and provide a team-based approach that offers continuity of care. The third annual accountability report on emergency departments this fall showed an overall decrease of 1,203 hours of emergency department closures in 2011-12, or a decrease of 6.4 per cent, compared with the previous year. “I am really pleased with the very positive feedback from both patients and health care providers in regions with CECs,” said Dr. Ross. “Communities are engaged in creating CECs that are meeting the unique local needs of patients. “At the same time, Regional hospitals are working with Department of Health and Wellness staff to meet Canada’s first set of standards to help address crowded emergency departments. Better Care Sooner is resulting in accountability for improving how we deliver emergency care from politicians to health authority leaders to health-care providers to patients themselves. We all have a responsibility to make some changes to improve our health.” Better Care Sooner is also making a difference to the health of Nova Scotians in other ways, including:
On Friday, President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar signed an agreement to resolve the five-month-old crisis in South Sudan, which has claimed thousands of lives, left nearly five million in need of humanitarian assistance and led to atrocities being committed by both sides. “Now the onus is on both South Sudanese leaders to accelerate the momentum for peace,” Mr. Ban said as he briefed the Security Council following his visit to the world’s youngest nation last week to sound the alarm about the violence and the risk of catastrophic famine.“If the conflict continues, half of South Sudan’s 12 million people will either be displaced internally, refugees abroad, starving or dead by the year’s end,” he warned.The conflict has also displaced more than a million people, including more than 80,000 people who are sheltering at UN bases around the country.While in the capital, Juba, Mr. Ban visited the Tomping protection of civilians site, which hosts some 20,000 people. “I was moved by their welcome and appalled at the conditions they are having to endure, which are worse than in any of the many refugee camps I have visited around the world,” he said.“The United Nations policy of opening our gates as an emergency option to protect innocent civilians is correct, unprecedented and not without considerable risk – to United Nations staff, to our relations with communities and to those we are trying to shelter,” the Secretary-General stated. “It is not a routine decision, nor one we took lightly, but one we were morally compelled to take. I am proud of the actions of our United Nations peacekeepers and civilian staff. Their quick response and courage has saved tens of thousands of lives.“But this is not a long-term solution,” he stressed. “This is an entirely man-made calamity and it needs the engagement of all actors to change course.”Mr. Ban highlighted five priorities, beginning with the need to end the fighting immediately. “I am troubled by the accusations by both sides of breaches of the ceasefire already, and I urge maximum restraint by all parties.”He also stressed the need for both sides to fulfil their commitment to allowing humanitarian access – by air, by road and, in particular, by barge along the Nile – and for the international community to support humanitarian action. “The United Nations is launching a massive operation to help 3.2 million people, but we need resources. The humanitarian community is $781 million short of the $1.27 billion that we estimate is needed by the middle of this year,” Mr. Ban said, as he urged all countries to support the donor conference on South Sudan to be hosted by Norway and the UN on 20 May. Equally important is the need for justice and accountability, and for the two leaders to recommit to inclusive nation-building that involves all political leaders and civil society. “They must cease a senseless power struggle and restore the sense of national unity that prevailed at the time of independence,” said the Secretary-General.Meanwhile, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reported incidents of fighting between Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and opposition forces in parts of Unity and Upper Nile state over the weekend, in violation of the ceasefire agreement. Both sides clashed west of Bentiu in Unity state yesterday, the Mission reported. Small arms fire, as well as several explosions, was also heard close to the Mission’s compound in Bentiu, where upwards of 23,000 civilians are being protected. “The UN Mission condemns the fighting and asks the parties to immediately implement the commitments that they have signed into action on the ground, and cease all hostilities,” UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York.