Lorraine Michael Question Period (11.06.2013)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

We are hearing in the media about women suffering miscarriages alone after long waits in the Health Sciences ER. I am also hearing from people with horror stories of the wait time with other experiences. Despite the ER wait time strategy released last year, congestion is still an urgent issue, as this year’s Eastern Health accreditation report reveals.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister of Health and Community Services, how is she going to immediately address the critical ER overcrowding and long wait times?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I want to reference the first part of the statement first of all, and that having to do with the miscarriages that we have read about in the paper. Those are certainly very unfortunate, very emotional issues, and we are very concerned about those, Mr. Speaker.

I have on a number of occasions, and I will continue to do so, say that quality of care is exceptionally important to us. We want to ensure that members of the public know that they have a route to go should they need that through our client services offices. I wanted to put that out there first.

In terms of our emergency departments, Mr. Speaker, we are making incredible progress there, but it does take time. We have invested over $400,000 in wait times just in the emergency departments alone. A number of initiatives have been undertaken, some of it having to do with fast tracking whereby we take –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

We know all the problems. All we have to do is listen to people telling us what the problems are. We also know solutions that have worked in other places.

What I want to know from the minister, Mr. Speaker is: When will she commit sufficient resources to end the suffering endured by ER patients? That is what is needed.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I will just continue on. We have invested $400,000 in the new fast track system in our emergency departments – our Category A emergency departments, whereby we look at the acuity of patients when they come in. There are some that are fast tracked into other areas because they can be in and out in a faster period of time, thereby freeing up our physicians and our nurse practitioners, Mr. Speaker, for some of the other patients who do come in to our emergency departments.

We have also invested $4.1 million – she is asking about investments so I am allowed to say it this time. You will recall last year she told us not to talk about how much money we spend. We are looking at $4.1 million in renovations at St. Clare’s emergency department as well, and we will continue to do that. We are also looking at increased hours of physicians and so on within the emergency departments and other health care professionals within the emergency departments during times when we know there are peak times.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I suggest that the minister better look at the value she is getting for the money that they are putting in. A condition of Nova Scotia’s public utility board requires that Emera file regular update reports with them throughout the construction of the Maritime Link.

I ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker: Will she allow our public utility that independent oversight role during the construction of the Muskrat Falls Project?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the one thing that we cannot be accused of as a government and as a provincially-owned Crown corporation is of keeping information away from the people of the Province with regard to Muskrat Falls. Our friends opposite try on a daily basis to make that accusation and it just does not stand up. There has been more information released on Muskrat Falls than any other project in the history of our Province.

Mr. Speaker, on Nalcor’s Web site there is a monthly update of the number of jobs, the benefits that are occurring, particularly in Labrador because of the development of Muskrat Falls. We are going to continue to do that, Mr. Speaker, and we are going to broaden the information available to the people of the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier: Will that broadening include releasing the engineering oversight reports, including the independent engineer reports that they are getting in Nova Scotia and we are not getting here?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I know that this is Question Period and they get to ask us questions and we provide the answers, and we are happy to do that. I would just like to know what the Leader of the NDP would do with the engineering reports, Mr. Speaker, because we have a proposal now in response to the UARB request on the availability of non firm power. It is a pretty straight concept if you have been mired down or studying about Muskrat Falls for the last two years, Mr. Speaker, and we can see in the questioning of this House this week that the NDP do not understand the difference between a firm power sale and a non firm.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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