The Mayor of Shelburne thinks smaller, local health boards could solve some health care issues.
Karen Mattatall says before the creation of the Nova Scotia Health Authority each hospital would have their chief of staff, department heads and community members meet to address the needs in the hospital.
She says this hyper-local model ensured everything from staffing to equipment was managed from a local perspective.
"People think often, that progress is just doing something different. Sometimes progress is going back to something that worked well."
Mattatall says the regional model offloads work to larger hospitals while taking services away from smaller communities.
"When you have decision-makers in Halifax or even in a larger regional centre that don't experience what we do, they don't understand. They can't understand."
Mattatall says doctors want to practice where they have access to services and can provide the best care.
She says the best way to get those services is by involving the local community.
Chairman of the Queens General Hospital Foundation agrees the former system allowed decisions to be made much more quickly at the local level.
Dr. Al Doucet says any project the foundation wishes to fund now has to navigate a cumbersome bureaucratic process.
Doucet thinks things were working quite well with the nine former health districts.
"It took a long time to get to that point where they did work well. But for them to change everything, it's probably a ten-year project to get back to the streamlining and the efficiencies, and they're not there yet."
He says a couple of moves could improve health care in the short term.
"If there could be more movement down to the local level for decision-making and the funding to go along with that, I think that would be a good step."
Doucet says the Health Authority needs to make room for local voices in its top-down model.
Reported by: Ed Halverson
E-mail: [email protected]