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News

Glen Abernethy: Seniors’ Programs

Mr. Speaker, November 6-12, 2014 is National Seniors’ Safety Week and it is a good opportunity to remember the important role that Seniors and Elders play in our communities.

Elders are the heart of our communities, providing guidance, care for children, and serving as volunteers.  But as they age, Seniors often require a greater level of support than others.

The Government has taken several steps to restructure our system so that it is responsive, comfortable and efficient when it comes to meeting the needs of Seniors. 

Glen Abernethy – Med-Response

Glen Abernethy - Official PortraitMr. Speaker, I am pleased to provide this House with an update on the  Med-Response system.

Med-Response is the first program of its kind in Canada – or anywhere else, as far as we know.  Other jurisdictions have call centres to coordinate air ambulance triage and dispatch, or call centres to provide clinical consultation, but Med-Response is breaking new ground by combining these functions into one operation.

Mr. Speaker, Med-Response has the potential to transform how we provide care to patients who are injured or critically ill.  Today, we have a patchwork of protocols and processes that govern how we deal with urgent situations in communities outside Yellowknife.  When a Community Health Nurse wants to arrange an air ambulance, he or she may have to make five or six phone calls.  They have to contact a regional nurse in charge, a medical director, the medical travel office, and possibly other clinical experts.  They do all this while trying to care for a patient who may well need urgent attention. They can be on hold for minutes or even an hour waiting to speak to a physician.

Med-Response will change all that.  There will be one dedicated 1-800 number for all health care workers to call when they need an air ambulance, or when they need advice or consultation that is beyond the capacity of local expertise.  When a call is received, an Emergency Medical Coordinator will immediately assess the urgency of the patient’s condition, and then take the appropriate action.  That might include getting a dispatcher to start arranging a medevac, or patching in an ER physician or specialist to provide advice and support.  Both these things can happen at once.  The phone system provides for up to nine callers to be involved, so that everyone with a role to play understands what is happening in real time.

Another benefit of Med-Response is that it provides an immediate support for new staff, casual staff and locum staff that may be dealing with an emergency situation but not be familiar with our system.  In some cases, having immediate access to specialized clinical support may help to avoid having to medevac a patient.

Because all calls will be recorded, Med-Response will introduce a new level of quality assurance into our system.  The data tracking capacity will allow us to monitor air ambulance usage, and regional patterns, providing the basis for future program improvement.

Glen Abernethy – Building Stronger Families – An Action Plan to Transform Child and Family Services

Glen Abernethy - Official PortraitMr. Speaker, later today I will table “Building Stronger Families – An Action Plan to Transform Child and Family Services”as well as the formal response to Committee Report 6-17(5).  This Government is committed to a fundamental shift in how we deliver child and family services in the Northwest Territories. The Action Plan will guide necessary and transformational changes to improve the overall quality of these services, and achieve better outcomes for children and their families when they require services under the Child and Family Services Act.

In the past four years, over 100 recommendations have been made with respect to legislation, policies and practice in child and family services.  The Standing Committee on Social Programs of the 16th Legislative Assembly undertook a comprehensive review of the Child and Family Services Act, and in March 2014 the Office of the Auditor General of Canada’s report was tabled in the Legislative Assembly.  This was followed by the report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations, which was tabled in the last Session.

“Building Stronger Families: An Action Plan to Transform Child and Family Services” forms the Government’s comprehensive response to the Auditor General of Canada’s report on Child and Family Services and the report from the Standing Committee on Government Operations.

The Action Plan outlines three overarching goals of increasing accountability between Health Authorities and the Department, improving service delivery, and better assisting children and families in our communities.  The Plan identifies three significant areas of reform.  The first will be to make changes to service delivery and child protection practices.  The second will focus on risk management and quality assurance; and the third will be to improve program administration and management.

Raising NWT health at FPT health ministers meeting

YELLOWKNIFE (October 2, 2014) – Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy joined his federal, provincial and territorial colleagues in Banff earlier this week to discuss innovative practices in health.

Ministers discussed a range of health innovations including a new office for the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, generic drug pricing, research on dementia, seniors and aging, prescription drug abuse and the ebola outbreak in Africa.

Three proponents qualify for Stanton Territorial Hospital renewal project

YELLOWKNIFE (October 2, 2014) – The renewal of the Stanton Territorial Hospital moved closer today with the announcement by Finance Minister J. Michael Miltenberger that three proponents have qualified for the project, pursuant to the Government of the Northwest Territories’ (GNWT) Request for Qualifications.

The three proponents are:

GNWT outlines plans for improving health and social services system

YELLOWKNIFE (August 19, 2014) –  The Government of the Northwest Territories is seeking input on options for ensuring the NWT health and social services system better meets the changing needs of NWT residents. The issues and plans for addressing them are outlined in Caring for our People – Improving the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services System, a discussion paper released today by Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy.

Anti-Poverty projects selected for funding

YELLOWKNIFE (August 18, 2014) – Fourteen organizations have been selected to receive Anti-Poverty funding in the NWT. The Government of the Northwest Territories’ (GNWT) Anti-Poverty Action Plan received $500,000 to provide organizations with funding for projects and initiatives to help reduce poverty at community, regional and territorial levels. Applicants submitted project proposals for review by the Anti-Poverty Action Plan Advisory Committee and approval from Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy.

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