Succcess continues for the CHA

Darrell Cole
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SPRINGHILL - The past year was another one of growth for the Cumberland Health Authority.

SPRINGHILL - The past year was another one of growth for the Cumberland Health Authority.

Continuing to build on the momentum generated in recent years, the health authority continued working in several key areas to improve health-care services for residents in Cumberland County.

"As has been the case over the past three years the CHA continued to experience growth and expansion in all areas of its operations," board chair Bruce Saunders told the authority's annual meeting in Springhill.

Growth included several key initiatives such as the opening of the third operating theatre at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre and the success of the Cumberland South Rural Practice Network that has resolved a chronic physician shortage by having nurse practitioners work in concert with doctors in Parrsboro, Advocate and River Hebert.

A similar network is being proposed for the Pugwash area.

Day surgery numbers increased by 13.5 per cent over 2005-06 and by 49 per cent since 2003-04 while ambulatory care visits have jumped by 6.7 per cent since 2005-06. There has also been a greater demand for support services including laboratory and diagnostic imaging.

The authority has also worked to enhance patient safety through its support for the Safe Health Care Now initiative. The district has also embarked on an organizational health strategy aimed at developing a healthy workplace plan to benefit all employees, physicians and volunteers.

Saunders said this growth, although good, has come with challenges.

"Addressing the complex issues that revolve around the provision of health care services is a challenge. Those challenges range from increasing costs and limited budgets to shortages of qualified health care providers," Saunders said.

Among those challenges is dealing with the number of alternate level care patients who are awaiting placement in long-term care facilities and providing an equitable level of care across a large, sparsely populated area.

Organizations: Cumberland Health Authority, Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, Cumberland South Rural Practice Network

Geographic location: SPRINGHILL, Cumberland County, Parrsboro River Hebert Pugwash

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