Who will mend our broken ERs?

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In almost every election since the early 1990s political leaders have claimed to have the solution for what's ailing Nova Scotia's failing health-care system. With frequent emergency room closures, long wait times for specialty services and a growing number of people without a family physician it's almost as if the system is riding head-long over a cliff.
On Thursday, NDP Leader Darrell Dexter committed to setting up a $3-million Emergency Department Protection Fund to hire doctors for hard-to-fill shifts while opening up 17 new beds to relieve overcrowding at the province's busiest hospital.
This promise came days after Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil announced his plan to pay the tuition for medical students if they agreed to work in under-serviced areas for five years.
The Conservatives have yet to announce how they plan to fix health-care, but it's likely that if re-elected they'll continue implementing the recommendations of the Corpus-Sanchez consultants report that suggests a massive overhaul of a system that's no longer meeting the needs of the province.
Throwing money at the solution is simply not going to work. Countless governments have tried that approach hoping it would work, but yet emergency departments in rural communities like Pugwash and Parrsboro continued to close with regularity and people in need of life-saving treatments are forced to wait longer and longer.
It's time to consider other options and alternatives. More work needs to be done to level the playing field regarding what doctors are paid to work in rural ERs while something has to be done to make Nova Scotia's hospitals and communities the choice for medical school grads.
Before making pie in the sky promises they have no intention and no ability of fulfilling, it would be wise for the political leadership to think long and hard at what's really the best way to fix health care and make educated and informed decisions, not something that sounds good in a 30 second soundbyte.

Organizations: Protection Fund, Conservatives

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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