Mr. Speaker, this Government is committed to improving the health and social services system in the Northwest Territories. Over the last year, I have travelled to every region of the NWT to consult with residents, communities, Aboriginal governments, and staff in the regional Authorities. Everywhere I go, I have heard from people that they don’t care about bureaucratic boundaries and regional silos. They just want the best possible care for themselves and their loved ones. They want to be sure that we can afford to provide excellent care into the future.
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.
Mr. Speaker: I am pleased to report that earlier this month the Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories launched the Wellness Court, supported by a new Department of Justice Wellness Court Program.
Mr. 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, 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.
Mr. Speaker, every day, seniors across the NWT make important contributions to their families, their friends and their communities.
We don’t always give them the credit they deserve, but recognizing June as Seniors’ Month in the Northwest Territories and June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is one way to show our appreciation to NWT seniors.
Mr. Speaker, June 1st is National Cancer Survivors Day. This day is an annual celebration of life and loved ones. Each year, it reminds us of the importance of speaking openly about cancer, and supporting one another in the face of such a serious disease.
On average, 111 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in the NWT every year. There is life after diagnosis. The NWT residents I know who have cancer have shown courage and strength in their individual cancer journeys.
Mr. Speaker, on March 4, 2014, this Assembly received a report on Child and Family Services from the Auditor General of Canada. The report confirmed what we already knew – that we need to do a better job of supporting children and families. It highlighted areas where our system has seriously failed. It told how some children are falling through the cracks, and how some Health and Social Services Authorities have not routinely followed up on the well-being of children placed into care. These situations are unacceptable.
Mr. Speaker, we are making the final preparations for our new Med-Response clinical support line for community health workers. This innovative project is a priority in the Department of Health and Social Services strategic plan and advances the 17th Legislative Assembly’s goal of ensuring a fair and sustainable health care system. It uses technology to connect people with services and it will be an important part of our effective, efficient health system.
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.