Nova Scotia needs to sort out who is going to take charge in the event of an emergency pandemic, an auditor general’s report said Thursday.
Auditor General Jacques Lapointe released his audit into pandemic preparedness four months early so that Nova Scotia would have time to fix gaps in its strategy.
Lapointe said there needs to be a clear chain of command in the event of an extreme pandemic outbreak to co-ordinate different government departments, district health authorities and outside agencies.
“The dynamic is there for deferred action, delayed decisions and confusion at the height of a crisis,” Lapointe said. “Executive council needs to determine where ultimate leadership resides”
Currently, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang has the ability to co-ordinate pandemic response, but the rules are vague.
Lapointe said a “sense of urgency” is needed, and Health Minister Maureen MacDonald accepted all of his recommendations. She said officials began speaking on Thursday in order to iron out a clear chain of command.
Not all government agencies have submitted pandemic plans, however. Lapointe said the Emergency Management office and department of Health Promotion and Protection need to make sure all parties are prepared in the event of an outbreak.
There are also four vacancies out of the seven medical officer of health positions. Dr. Strang said the province is working to fill those roles.
“I’m comfortable we have the right processes in place,” Strang said. “But I’ll be honest that if this becomes much more severe it will create severe stresses in our health care system.”