As has been the case for many events during the past couple of years, Nova Scotia Health’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) looked a bit different this year. Janet Davidson, administrator of Nova Scotia Health and Karen Oldfield, interim president and CEO of Nova Scotia Health presented the 2021-22 annual report during the virtual, formal business meeting-style AGM.Nova Scotia Health’s seventh annual general meeting took place virtually on Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.
The theme of this year’s report is Healthier Together: We Persevere.
Nova Scotia Health’s 2021-22 annual report is an opportunity to celebrate and thank the team of more than 30,000 employees, doctors, volunteers, researchers and learners for their contributions to ensuring the safety and well-being of all Nova Scotians. View the report.
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It has been a transformative year for Nova Scotia Health. Last
September, the provincial government appointed me as the administrator
and appointed a new interim CEO.
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This change was made with the commitment to Nova Scotians that we
would listen, make informed decisions and take quick action.
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I look forward to continuing to work with our frontline healthcare
workers and system leaders to drive the changes that Nova Scotians
have asked for and deserve.
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Transformation inevitably brings about change, and this year Nova
Scotia health witnessed a lot of change during this time, led by the
broad expertise of our COVID network, we continued to adapt to the
challenges of variance during the ongoing global pandemic that
heightened the risk of hospital outbreaks and also meant large numbers
of staff had to be off work due to infection or exposure.
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We adapted the way we responded to health care challenges through the
introduction of mental health and addictions recovery support centers.
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The Virtual emergency pilot in Truro and planning toward a new model
of dialysis care that will provide better access to people in rural
communities beginning in chatty camp.
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We continued and strengthened our focus on innovative ways of doing
things. This past year, Doctor Kenneth Rockwood received global
recognition for his career dedicated to improving care for older
adults living with frailty and dementia.
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We also celebrated the success and incredible potential of innovators
in residence, including Doctor Karen Cross and Doctor Michael Dunbar.
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At our health innovation have showcase along with hosting a virtual
health research conference in partnership with Cape Breton University
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The teams that Nova Scotia health more than 30,000 employees, doctors,
volunteers, researchers and learners remained committed to the mission
of striving for excellence in health, in healing and learning through
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This is a point of pride for the organization.
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I'd now like to invite Karen Oldfield, our interim President and CEO,
to say a few words about that. Karen.
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
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It is an AGM. I do have some prepared comments but before I turn to
those I I would just like to speak directly to those attending today
and to those who may.
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I watch the live stream at a later point, and what I'd like to say is
thank you. I wanna say thank you for your sacrifices, for your
efforts, for everything that you do for Nova Scotia Health. We know it
hasn't been easy. I I've met many healthcare workers as I've traveled
around the province. I've read many emails. I've read up the responses
to our speak up for healthcare to our and I know that it has not been
easy. I know people.
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Have been at times frustrated and tired and wondering how they're
gonna just find the strength to do one more day and and yet you do.
And so for all of the sacrifices and the efforts that our entire team
has put into this past year and longer, I say from my heart. Thank you
very much on behalf of of our executive teams. Thank you very much.
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So despite having yet another challenging pandemic year, we move
forward this year as one.
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UH-1 system we strive to ensure that Nova Scotians receive the right
care at the right time.
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That's what it means actually, to persevere. And in my books, that's
what we did. We are and we continue to be deeply grateful, as I've
said, for the work and the dedication of our people and our teams
across the organization who contribute to the care of all Nova
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Your resilience during these difficult times has provided an endless
amount of hope, not just for those you care for, but an entire
province. I know that to be true because I receive many letters from
Nova Scotia's who who say how great the healthcare workers in this
province have been to them.
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I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge the
NSH executive team who are online here today. I'd like to say thank
you for your support and for your leadership in what has obviously
been and continues to be a very challenging time. Despite that, as our
chair has mentioned, there's lots of work and progress happening
across the system.
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This year's AGM theme was appropriately chosen to reflect the spirit
of what so many of us witnessed this past year within the hearts and
actions of our people and our communities. And that is healthier.
Together we persevere.
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I did see this for myself as I traveled across the province during the
speak up for healthcare tour this past fall.
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There was an invaluable experience, a very eye opening experience for
me, as I learned from many of you, what we need to do to create and
strengthen a high performing health system that supports both our
people and Nova Scotians assessing care.
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One thing I heard consistently while visiting many of our sites and
locations was the need for a stronger plan around retention and
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The province, as well as Nova Scotia Health, has made this a very
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We've been supporting this critically important focus while working
with our colleagues at the Office of Healthcare Professionals
Recruitment and in addition, we have been creating efficiencies in our
own hiring process to better ensure the hiring experience is a
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So only recently published this spring from the provincial government,
the action for Health, a strategic plan for Nova Scotia, was the
product of direct feedback that the premier and the health leadership
team heard when on our tour.
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The document serves as a commitment to the work we have done so far
together and what we will continue to accomplish and measuring success
is a key part of the work. You can now visit the action for health
website and view key indicators for each solution in the plan as well
as information on the healthcare system which is updated daily by
providing accessibility to these numbers, we hope to demonstrate
accountability, provide transparency and strengthen trust.
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Throughout our system.
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As Janet noted.
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And I'd like to reiterate, it has been a productive year as we
increased access to healthcare with the opening of two urgent
treatment centers, 2 addictions recovery support centers and Nova
Scotia's first mental Health Acute Day hospital.
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We launched virtual care and US where most people on the need of
family practice registry now have access to virtual care for their
primary care needs.
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And also major healthcare redevelopment projects are well underway and
last year we completed a $150 million expansion and renovation at the
Dartmouth General Hospital.
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These are just a few of the alternative models of care that we have
enabled and the initiatives that are currently happening that have
allowed us to try new approaches, evaluate and adjust as we move
healthcare forward in this process in this province.
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I think I have a few minutes to go off script, so I'm going to try to
do it without getting us all on off track. So Janet did allude to the
health innovation hub. She's going to talk to it again, but I would
like to take a moment to talk about the fact that it does enable us to
test and try new things like medical technologies like robotics, like
Paige safe patient handling, and we can do that with the help of our
partners, which are clinicians.
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Which are corporate partners that could be big or small with
foundations, and I believe I saw a couple of names flash up as we were
waiting to get online and also different community groups, and I've
been very heartened as I've become more and more.
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Familiar with the many people across our province who who want to help
and who have proven ways of helping many community groups that have
put their hands up and who are doing a great job, whether it's in
recruiting or whether it's making new healthcare workers feel welcome
in our community. So I would simply like to thank those partners as
well as our healthcare workers.
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A final point.
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It's just with respect to Nova Scotia Health and the wider system.
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You know, Nova Scotians are by nature very creative, and I think
there's lots of sparks of that creativity across our system and
particularly when we come together to solve problems, I'm I'm
beginning to see.
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Uh, you know, some real change in our system as we continue on our
path for for transformation and the more we can break down the walls
between units, between floors, between departments, between NSH and
the Department of Health, between the Office of Addiction and Mental
Health and so forth, the more we can break down the walls and and look
at ourselves as one system, I guarantee you the faster the change will
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I'd like to thank that we have accomplished a great deal this past
year and I look forward to the strides we will continue to make
together in service of our people and our communities. Thank you.
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Well, thank you, Karen. As Karen has mentioned, innovation is thriving
in Nova Scotia. The QE two Health Sciences Center is now home to the
second surgical orthopedic robot of its kind in Canada.
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We officially launched Nova Scotia Health's new innovation hub with
the purpose of transforming health care through leading edge research.
The best available evidence and innovative solutions.
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Now, despite managing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, physician
recruitment had a banner year in twenty 2175 family doctors and 88
other specialists started work in the province. We welcomed our
highest number of practice Ready Assessment program candidates into
the program and continued to focus on resident engagement.
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We continue to evolve our work in partnership with the new Office of
health care professionals recruitment and are excited for the
opportunities in store with this new department.
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Now I'd like to ask Deborah Nickerson to address the financial
statements for the 2122 fiscal year.
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Thank you, Janet, and good morning. It's my pleasure to provide some
comments regarding the financial statements of Nova Scotia Health for
the year ended March 31st, 2022.
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Here's some of the highlights. Now this goes to help ended the year in
a $5 million operating surplus position for the year. This is a
combination of hard work and diligence on behalf of Nova Scotia Health
leadership, all of us over our resources as well as additional funding
from our partner, the Department of Health and Wellness supporting
additional system pressures including the continuing COVID-19
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Management at Nova Scotia Health have provided their assurance that
our financial statements are fairly stated and represent our financial
position. For this past year and our auditor, the Auditor General of
Nova Scotia has given us an unmodified or clean audit opinion on the
statement. The Auditor General also indicated that they're pleased
with management actions and responses in addressing prior audit
findings and that good progress continues on our internal control
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And I'm very pleased to say that no new audit findings findings were
identified for 2122. The statements have been approved by the board
administrator and presented to government for consolidation in the
overall provincial financial results.
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And we have the auditor, the office of the Auditor General, has been
appointed by the board administrator as auditor for Nova Scotia Health
for the upcoming fiscal year. Our financial statements will be posted
online as part of our annual report for 2122. And finally, I would
like to thank all of my staff who are responsible for preparing the
financial statements and they did it. They did a tremendous job. Thank
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Well, thank you, Deborah. And through you to all of your staff, it's
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We'd now like to share with you a feature video on virtual care NS
this is something that Karen referred to in her earlier remarks.
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Virtual care and asked provides free temporary access to primary
medical care for people on the need of family practice registry.
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More than 73% of Nova Scotians on the registry now have access to
virtual care and S and more than 17,000 patient appointments have
taken place since the program launched in May of 2021.
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A true example of innovation and adaptability you'll hear from Doctor
Adam Rostis, who provides care through virtual care and S part time
while also providing care to his patients at his family practice in
Halifax, as well as supporting patients in long term care.
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You'll also hear from Lori Williams, a patient from the Yarmouth area
who recently started using virtual care NS and how it has benefited
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Enjoy the video.
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Green, Patti M
My doctor left in October of 2019.
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Green, Patti M
I remember 811 calling me one day and I thought, oh gosh, here we go.
We're gonna have a doctor. And they said no, no, we're just making
sure you still need one and letting letting you know you're still on
the list. So it doesn't look good at all. There are 10s of thousands
of patients in Nova Scotia who didn't have a family physician. People
needed care. And especially given that there wasn't a lot of places
for people to go to be seen for prescription renewals, I would either
go into the Yarmouth outpatients where they're, you know, you're
looking at 6 to 7 hours, if not more.
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Green, Patti M
If not, I would go into Shelburne. I could drive there and back in the
less time that it would take me at outpatients in Yarmouth quite often
I hear I'm thankful I don't have to sit in the emergency department
for 12 hours to get my, you know, cholesterol medication refilled,
which is what a lot of people have been saying that they they've had
to do. I had registered as not having a doctor with 811 and but then
this came up and I said, well, I'm going to try it. And I started
using it from there on in for a lot of.
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Green, Patti M
Patient needs medication refills.
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Green, Patti M
You know rashes.
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Green, Patti M
A mental health issues as well. A lot of those can be can be dealt
with virtually. It's very easy to use. I've I've used three different
forms of communication, so we had one doctor just texted me back and
forth. One doctor phoned me. One doctor called me and did video
conference. So they're all very easy and it all went through the app
and worked with no problem. Patients would submit a request to talk to
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Green, Patti M
And they would submit their sort of presenting complaint and what they
were expecting and they would be rather randomly assigned to a
physician who would be on the platform at the time.
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Green, Patti M
And the connection would be made and then introductions would be done.
And then you start talking about what the issue is. All the doctors
have been more than inviting and kind and, you know, they seem to take
their time with you and everything. It's not a big rush or anything.
Ordering investigations and tests, referring to specialists. And
that's all that is available to to patients who are on virtual care,
Nova Scotia. So it's essentially like a family medicine office without
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Green, Patti M
Musical exam. I don't have to go sit amongst people that are sick,
right? If I'm trying to get a prescription, I don't have to.
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Green, Patti M
Leave my house. I can sit here and do it like it's it's awesome. We
have the ability to if we need to arrange for people to be seen in
person at one of the primary care clinics within within Nova Scotia.
But I had a problem with my leg and so I'm going to give it a shot.
And through the Maple lap she sent me requisition for a X ray
requisition for blood work. I also need a prescription renewal at that
time. And then she wanted to follow up.
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Green, Patti M
And I was sent to the primary care centre at the bottom of the
Yarmouth Hospital, which I didn't even know existed. I I think that
it's shown that it can work.
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Green, Patti M
That it is efficient, that it's effective and that people people like
it, patients like it. I think physicians like it as well because they
can add it to their.
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Green, Patti M
Uh to their practice mix. I hope that it stays. This is a great
system. Honestly, I love it.
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Well, that was quite a video.
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Now, before we conclude this year's AGM, we'd like to express our
deepest thanks to Nova Scotia Health. Many partners, including the
Department of Health and Wellness, the IWK Healthcare Foundations,
AXILLARIES Community Health boards, volunteers, patient and family
advisors and universities and colleges, to name a few. We sincerely
value your collaboration, support and contributions.
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And I want to reiterate our highest praise to all of our doctors and
staff, whether they're clinical support, administrative maintenance,
for demonstrating that spirit of perseverance to a very difficult
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The detailed financial statements discussed this morning, the video
you have just seen many more stories about the work of Nova Scotia
Health and information about our activities in the past year can all
be found in our annual report website, which can be accessed from
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With strides in innovation and technology recruitment and the
continued expansion of new and alternative care models across our
organization, we are looking toward the future and all that we will
accomplish for the betterment of health care in this province.
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Healthier together, we persevere.
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Thank you very much.