“It's time to hit reset,” says Tim Houston.

Houston's quick health care shake-up

The premier and health minister dismissed the health authority CEO and NS Health board.

On the day after his swearing in, premier Tim Houston immediately disrupted Nova Scotia’s health care system by firing the health authority CEO and getting rid of the provincial health board.

"I've said all along that transformational change was needed to improve health care and it starts today," Houston said in a statement Wednesday. He told reporters following the announcement, “it’s time to hit reset.”

Brendan Carr, who started his gig as head of Nova Scotia Health on December 16, 2019, is out of the job. Karen Oldfield, a past minister and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority, has been appointed interim CEO of the health authority. It’s not clear for how long she’ll hold this position; Oldfield does not appear to have worked in health care before.

Novice MLA and health minister Michelle Thompson “has dismissed the board of directors” under the minister’s authority in the Health Authorities Act. The 14-member health board is out, with board chair Janet Davidson appointed as administrator working under Oldfield.

In March, Nova Scotia Health appointed its first Black member when OmiSoore Dryden joined the board. Doctor Dryden reacted to the news of the board’s dismissal to say “that was short-lived.”

"I want to thank Dr. Carr and the board of directors at the Nova Scotia Health Authority for their service," Houston said.

The other two staff making up Houston’s new four-person health team are Jeannine Lagasse and Kevin Orrell. Lagasse, who served as associate deputy minister, has been promoted to deputy minister of health.

Doctor Orrell, who previously held the deputy minister of health title, is the CEO of a newly established office of health care professional recruitment.

When Carr was first, he told reporters a top priority was addressing the negative narrative that he felt surrounds Nova Scotia’s health system. "One of our biggest challenges is the narrative that's pervasive around our system, frankly. There's a lot to be proud of here," Carr said at a press conference in January 2020.

At the time he said he was concerned with the "very critical narrative" surrounding Nova Scotia's health care system given that there are "thousands of patients... who are receiving excellent care, high-quality care."

About The Author

Lyndsay Armstrong

Lyndsay is a city reporter covering all things Halifax, health and COVID-19. She is a data journalist who has covered provincial politics for allNovaScotia.com and represented Nova Scotia in a national investigation into lead in drinking water with the Toronto Star and Global.

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