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Health and Community Services
February 18, 2008

No New Money in Federal Announcement

 The Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Health and Community Services, responded to the announcement today by Federal Minister Loyola Hearn which has falsely left an impression in the public that new money has been allocated to health initiatives in the province.

�While we recognize the significant value in these projects for the people in our province, it should be made clear that these initiatives stem from broader initiatives which have already been announced,� said Minister Wiseman.

The minister clarified that the three tobacco-reduction projects approved for the Seniors Resource Centre, the Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association, and the Nunatsiavut Government were funded through the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy, which was initially announced as a block of funding for Atlantic Canada last year.  As well, the continued funding allocated for three projects supporting the health of Aboriginal communities in the province was previously announced through the Nunatsiavut Government.

�There are significant health-related issues which need to be addressed and we would like to see the Federal Government come to the table to discuss new initiatives rather than re-stating initiatives already established,� said Minister Wiseman.  �One key example is the need for a catastrophic drug plan, which is the most important component of a National Pharmaceutical Strategy.  All provinces and territories have jointly asked the Federal Government for their support, yet since the launch of the National Pharmaceutical Strategy Progress Report in 2006, we have not received a substantial response.

�Furthermore, the federal government has been announcing programs with no sustainable funding, which shifts the burden of the cost to the provinces,� added Minister Wiseman. �While we don�t dispute the clear value of these programs, the method by which the Federal Government established them has translated into escalated costs for the provinces with no advance discussion or sustainable funding put in place.�


Media contact:
Tara Furlong
Communications Manager
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-2888, 727-2701

2009 02 18                                        5:30 p.m.

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