Letters to the editor, May 25, 2017

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

Good death for all

In 2014, the provincial government announced its palliative care strategy as a means for improving care and services for patients and their families facing life-limiting illnesses. Since then we have seen some improvements, for which the government and the health authority are to be commended. But despite these improvements, there are still inequities in access to services across the province, and people die with symptoms poorly managed.

The Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Association believes that all Nova Scotians should have access to quality end-of-life care. To achieve this, our provincial government must work to support a system that will allow hospice palliative care to be introduced earlier in treatment. Research demonstrates that early introduction of palliative care, combined with treatment, leads to better quality of life for patients and their families, better access and use of hospice services and, in some cases, patients live longer.

Hospice palliative care needs to be integrated and accessible in every setting where we live and die—at home, in long-term care, in our hospitals. Families need access to medical, social and practical supports. Resources are needed to support and educate our health care providers, caregivers and the public. A good death is a part of life, and our soon-to-be elected provincial government must provide the leadership to make dying well a reality for all Nova Scotians. —Colleen Cash, executive director, Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Association

A healthy budget

The coverage on the mental health crisis mentioned that an estimated one in five persons (actually more if you include addictions) experiences mental health problems, while failing to mention that only four percent of the provincial health care budget supports mental health services ("Quiet crisis," cover story by the King's Investigative Workshop, May 18).

This huge under-slicing of the pie is historically due to in large part to stigma; mental health is not sexy like cardiology and people are often blamed for having character flaws rather than illness in cases such as addiction and depression. Twenty percent of the health burden needs 20 percent of the budget directed toward health promotion, prevention and treatment services, not four percent. —Elisabeth Gold, MD

Vote your heart!

A friend at ElectionsBC once told me an election is more of a firing process than a hiring one. Voting for a candidate from a party with a small chance of winning does not fit the firing motif. However, if we eschew that and look to the future of Nova Scotia, we may find a candidate and a party aligned with our vision. In 1983, the BC Green Party received 0.19 percent of the popular vote and elected no one. In 2017, the BC Green Party received 16.74 percent of the popular vote and elected three candidates. If BC Greenies had thrown in the towel this would not have been achieved. So vote your heart! —Peter Bateman, Halifax

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