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Glen Abernethy – Report of the Auditor General on Child and Family Services

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General of Canada’s report on Child and Family Services was tabled in this House.  The Auditor General’s findings indicate that the health and social services system is not adequately meeting its key responsibilities for the protection and well-being of children, youth and families.  This is a serious concern for all of us.

Minister of Health and Social Services accepts Auditor General recommendations

YELLOWKNIFE (March 4 2014) –Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy has accepted all recommendations from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) Report on Child and Family Services.  “The wellbeing of children and families is a priority for the Government of the Northwest Territories,” said Minister Abernethy. 

New NWT birth certificates enhance security, durability

YELLOWKNIFE (March 4, 2014) – The Government of the Northwest Territories will introduce new, more secure birth certificates on April 1, 2014.

“The new birth certificate will be highly secure and durable, similar to those issued in most provinces,” said Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy. “Creating a more secure document is an important way for the Government of the Northwest Territories to help Northwest Territories residents protect their identity.”

Glen Abernethy – Electronic Medical Records

Mr. Speaker, we are transforming the way we use technology to deliver health care to our residents. People all over the world use secure, accessible technology for banking or to connect with their friends and family. Now we can use it to improve access to health services and provide better care to our residents. We are moving from paper records to digital charts to create electronic medical records, often referred to as an EMR. This is an electronic version of a paper chart that contains a patient’s medical history and primary care information. It will be implemented over the next several years and will be used Territory-wide.

Glen Abernethy – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Pan-Territorial Symposium March 4-5, 2014

Mr. Speaker, investing in prevention, education and awareness, and early childhood development are priorities of the 17th Legislative Assembly. On March 4th and 5th, the Department of Health and Social Services will host the Canada Northwest Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Partnership Symposium. The theme is Sharing Voices, Inspiring Hope: FASD in Northern Communities – Finding Solutions that Work. Professionals and com

Glen Abernethy – Enhancing Accountability in the Health and Social Services System

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health and Social services is committed to publicly reporting on the performance of the health and social services system and our progress towards achieving the Legislative Assembly’s goal of an effective and efficient Government. The Department of Health and Social Services uses a number of different reports to ensure we are accountable to this Assembly and to the residents of the NWT. The Northwest Territories Health Status Report is published every five years and presents updated information on the health status of the NWT population. It is an important resource to help understand health trends, the changing burden of disease, and the effect of lifestyle choices on chronic disease and mortality. Physician Services and Hospital Utilization reports are also published every five years and provide profiles of the top five reasons or conditions, for which treatment was required. This again helps to provide a profile of our population, the burden of disease and the system’s response. An addictions and substance use report is published every three years and reports on behaviors in the population and the effectiveness of policy and programs, in changing behaviors. Health Services Client Satisfaction Surveys are conducted and reported on every two years. In 2013/14, we also undertook a client satisfaction survey of the Community Counselling Program.

Glen Abernethy – Community Wellness Plans

Mr. Speaker, having healthy, vibrant and safe communities is a key priority for the Government of the Northwest Territories. This is why over the past year, we have worked with communities as they developed wellness plans, to set priorities and guide how wellness funding should be directed. I am pleased to announce that all of our communities are on track to complete their plans by March 31, 2014. These are living documents. They speak of the importance of supporting families and child development, celebrating culture, eating good food, being active, promoting mental wellness, building local capacity and building on community strengths. They identify priorities and will be the basis of work plans. Mr. Speaker, the Department receives eight million dollars from Health Canada to support health and wellness in Aboriginal communities. This year, we will allocate five million directly to Aboriginal communities on a multi-year, block funding basis, to support this important work. Funding can be used to support projects in three areas of vital important to our communities. These priority areas include healthy children and families, mental health and addictions, and healthy living and prevention. Communities will determine their own priorities, based on their wellness plans. The remainder of the funding is used to support the ongoing work of the new Division of Aboriginal Health and Community Wellness in the programs and services they provide to community and Aboriginal Organizations in their implementation of their plans. This work will also include the organization of territory-wide events.

Drop the Pop 2014 campaign begins with announcement of 2013 winners

YELLOWKNIFE (February 13, 2014) – The Department of Health and Social Services’ annual Drop the Pop campaign has begun in schools across the NWT.

This is the ninth year of the pan-territorial campaign, which is part of the Healthy Choices framework. Schools across the North that participate are eligible to be acknowledged with a cash award for their efforts to promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.

Glen Abernethy – Pathways to Wellness: An Updated Action Plan for Addictions and Mental Health

Mr. Speaker, a key priority of this government is to make sure that NWT residents have access to the right tools and supports that they can choose from to help overcome addiction issues and poor mental health. As a government, we are committed to ensuring that our residents have as many options as possible to help them move forward on their path towards wellness. The updated Action Plan, Pathways to Wellness, which I will be tabling later today, combines the actions contained in the 2012 action plan, A Shared Path Towards Wellness with the recommendations from Healing Voices, the report of the Minister’s Forum on Addictions and Community Wellness. It reflects actions the Department of Health and Social Services has committed to undertaking over the next two years and describes our progress to date. It describes how we will better utilize our $23 million dollar budget that supports mental health and addictions programs.