Capital Health has enough money to treat the sick — so long as the rest of us make an effort to stay healthy, says health authority CEO Chris Power.
“We eat too much, we drink too much, we smoke too much, and we don’t get enough exercise. Then we come to the doorstep and say ‘fix us,’” Power told a Halifax Chamber of Commerce luncheon yesterday.
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“You have a right to expect timely health care, but you also have a responsibility to maintain your own health.”
Demographics are Nova Scotia’s main health-care problem. By 2020, a quarter of us will be 65 or older. It costs $1,550 to care for each person under 65, and four times that amount for those 65 to 74.
Health care swallows up 44 per cent of the provincial budget. The Capital District Health Authority, which is responsible for all hospitals in Metro and Hants County except the IWK, has a budget of more than $700 million a year.
Power said the health authority can work with that budget, so long as it changes the way things operate. It’s building a new $17-million emergency room and hopes to change the way it triages patients and the way staff operates to cut waiting times.
Power said the hospital has also managed to cut the number of people waiting in hospital beds for long-term care. Last year, there were 250 people waiting for a long-term care placement; this year, there are 140 people.