Text Size
Bookmark and Share
Health and Community Services
Service NL
Environment and Conservation
April 24, 2012

Responsible Investments Enhance Health Care Services
for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians

Enhancing access and providing quality health care services throughout Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be a priority of the Provincial Government. Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future, includes nearly $3 billion to improve health care for all residents.

“Health care is a priority for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services. “Our investments reflect that priority clearly, especially considering the fact that our government allocates more per capita on the provision of health care than any other jurisdiction in Canada. Our Budget 2012 investments demonstrate our continued commitment to health care throughout Newfoundland and Labrador while balancing our responsibility to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the health care system.”

Budget 2012 investments focus on priority areas of dialysis, addressing drug costs, enhancing breast cancer screening, increasing access and improving infrastructure.

Dialysis Enhancements
Through a total investment of $1.9 million in Budget 2012 improvements will be made to further enhance dialysis services throughout the province. Over the last nine years the Provincial Government has invested approximately $189 million to enhance dialysis services. Budget 2012 will expand dialysis services in Harbour Breton, St. Anthony, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Carbonear and Corner Brook.

Investments in dialysis are:

  • $1 million to further expand dialysis services in Harbour Breton;
  • $327,000 to enhance dialysis services at the Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony and at the Labrador Health Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay;
  • $319,000 to enhance dialysis services at the Carbonear General Hospital; and,
  • $248,100 to expand dialysis services at the Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook.

“We have heard from our residents and we have identified dialysis enhancements as a priority for this government,” said Minister Sullivan. “In 2003, the province had a capacity for 340 patients on hemodialysis at seven sites and we can now accommodate 531 patients at 14 sites throughout the province. Our Budget 2012 investments demonstrate that our focus remains strong when it comes to providing quality health care.”

Improvements to Breast Cancer Screening
Furthering its Blue Book commitment, the Provincial Government is expanding the Breast Cancer Screening Program in existing sites to include women aged 40-49 who are referred by their primary health care provider to the program. A total investment of $508,600 will support this expansion, including the addition of a new mammography unit for James Paton Memorial Hospital in Gander.

“The Provincial Government recognizes that cancer continues to touch the lives of everyone in our province,” said Minister Sullivan. “Guided by the Cancer Control Policy Framework, the Provincial Government has committed to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer through improvements in screening, diagnosis and treatment. Currently women aged 40-49 must be referred to hospital-based mammography. With the expansion of the program, these women will now have an opportunity to be included in the provincial Breast Cancer Screening Program after discussion and referral from their physician. We have listened to the advice of the Cancer Control Advisory Committee, which consists of medical professionals, community leaders, and cancer survivors, and are moving forward with this important change in policy.”

Addressing the Cost of Prescription Drugs
The Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program will be enhanced through Budget 2012 initiatives with $4.4 million for the coverage of new drug therapies. The Provincial Government will invest $155 million in the provincial prescription drug program in 2012-13.

As a result of the recently reached agreement with the Pharmacists' Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Government will invest approximately $37 million over the next four years to support pharmacies, including those operating
in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition, $29 million will be provided over four years for enhancements to the 65Plus Plan which will protect seniors from paying more for their drug costs. These investments will be realized through savings from the introduction of the Provincial Government’s new generic drug pricing model.

Recognizing and Supporting Our Seniors
The Provincial Government recognizes the lifelong contribution of seniors to their communities and the province. It is important that seniors are supported in their ability to remain independent and that efforts are made to improve their financial well-being and overall quality of life.

With that in mind, Budget 2012 allocates $3.7 million to provide seniors aged 65 and over, a 35 per cent reduction on driver’s licence and vehicle registration fees, and other licences and fees for such things as hunting, fishing, cutting wood and camping. This complements the goals of the Provincial Healthy Aging Policy Framework which aims to recognize older persons, celebrate diversity, support communities, encourage health and financial well-being, and support employment, education and research.

Fee reductions for seniors will include:

  • Vehicle registration fees reduced from $126 to $82 for online processing and $140 to $91 for in-person processing;
  • Driver’s licence fee reduced from $100 to $65;
  • Big Game licences (moose and caribou) reduced from $40 to $26;
  • Black Bear licences reduced from $27 to $17.55;
  • Salmon Angling licences reduced from $17 to $11.05; and,
  • Serviced Campsite Monthly Fees reduced from $565 to $367.25. There will also be a reduction in nightly and weekly camping fees, as well as in vehicle entry fees at provincial parks.

The Provincial Government, through the implementation of the Adult Protection Act,
will continue to protect vulnerable adults, including seniors. Budget 2012 includes $285,500 to implement the act, which allows for the protection of adults who are incapable of caring properly for themselves; refuse or are unable to make decisions for care on their own behalf; and, who are not currently receiving proper care and attention.

Improved Access to Health Care Services
The Provincial Government continues to enhance access to health care services throughout Newfoundland and Labrador through Budget 2012 investments.

Budget 2012 provides $5 million to reduce wait times for joint replacement surgeries and in emergency departments. Two provincial wait time strategies were announced on February 22 which include $1.4 million for the first year of the joint replacement strategy and $3.6 million for year one of the emergency department strategy.

Additional enhancements include:

  • $275,000 to establish a new road ambulance base in Cartwright to provide road ambulance coverage on the Labrador south coast highway between Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay; and,
  • $116,400 to fund a new pharmacist position at the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital in Labrador City.

Health Care Infrastructure Improvements
Budget 2012 provides a total investment of $230.5 million in infrastructure, including $158.9 million for continuing construction and redevelopment, $45 million for new equipment, and $26.6 million for repairs and renovations.

Infrastructure projects include:

  • $25.7 million for the continued construction of a new regional hospital in Labrador West;
  • $16 million for the continued construction of the Newfoundland and Labrador Genetics Centre/Faculty of Medicine expansion in St. John’s;
  • $15.5 million for the continued development of the youth treatment centres in Grand Falls-Windsor and Paradise and the adult treatment centre in Harbour Grace;
  • $8.5 million for the continued redevelopment of the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor;
  • $4.5 million for the continuation of the PET Scanner project at Eastern Health;
  • $2.2 million for the redevelopment of the emergency department at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s;
  • $1.3 million for the planning and construction of the Marystown North Clinic;
  • $1.3 million for the continued planning and construction of the Glovertown Health Clinic;
  • $1 million to continue planning for a new acute care facility in Corner Brook;
  • $1 million for the continued construction of the Flowers Cove Health Centre; and,
  • $750,000 for the redevelopment of the Forensic Unit at the Waterford Hospital in St. John’s.

Investments in long-term care infrastructure projects are outlined in the news release Budget 2012 Investments Focus on Long-Term Care and Community Support.

“We know that receiving quality health care efficiently is important to Newfoundlanders and Larbadorians,” said Minister Sullivan. “It is also our priority and we continue to invest significantly to enhance access to health care services throughout our province. Budget 2012 further demonstrates that commitment while sustaining our health care system.”

- 30 -

Media contacts:

Jennifer Tulk
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 699-6524
Hugh Donnan
Director of Communications
Service NL
709-729-4860, 725-6511
Melony O’Neill
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 689-0928

2012 04 24             2:40 p.m.

Last Updated:
This page and all contents are copyright, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, all rights reserved.