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SHA optimistic as phase one of opening healthcare system begins – Prince Albert Daily Herald

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Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) CEO Scott Livingstone. (Government of Saskatchewan/Screenshot)

On Tuesday the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) began to resume some health services in varying parts of the province as a cautious first step toward re-opening the health system. Calling into the daily press conference on Tuesday afternoon SHA CEO Scott Livingstone explained that the ‘new normal’ in the healthcare system would take some time.

Livingstone also thanked healthcare workers across the province.

“I am proud of the work they are doing each and every day and I am sure they will provide safe and quality care to the people of the province,” Livingstone said.

The system will be reopening slowly and cautiously and each part of the province may look different but services will begin returning.

Tuesday marked the first day of phase one, with a focus on resuming a few everyday services such as outpatient physiotherapy appointments, kidney health services, some laboratory services, home care (e.g. bathing services) and expanded immunizations.

“We will also see surgical services slowly increasing to accommodate more patients who are on our waiting lists, as well as lab services and diagnostic imaging are also expanding their volumes as well,” Livingstone said.

As part of taking an approach that is tailored to health system readiness in various areas of the province, it should be noted that not all services listed in phase one will begin immediately on May 19.

There will also be an increase in mental health face to face services and placements rescheduled for students pursuing careers in healthcare.

“While we know that some parts of the province are still experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks we also know that there are several people across this province that are needing these services that have been on hold for a number of weeks. During the first phase of resumption we plan on balancing both sides of the equation by being both flexible and adaptive and we will not move further to expand services until we are confident that we can safely take care of patients at the same time as managing COVID response,” Livingstone said.

The services listed in phase one of the plan are those that may start beginning May 19, subject to an approval process that ensures service resumption is undertaken in a considered, thoughtful and safe manner.

Some areas of the province will be ready to resume services, while others are not yet ready. In many cases, the public can expect that their health care experience will be different than prior to the pandemic because of additional measures in place to protect patients and staff. These include adaptation of waiting room practices to promote physical distancing, additional emphasis on virtual care, wherever possible, and additional screening at health care facilities.

The SHA is asking for patience, as these practices are necessary for safety reasons but may cause delays and inconveniences for patients seeking care as services resume. Phase one will also include an expansion of surgeries beyond “three week urgent and emergent cases” to now include “six week urgent cases”.

“I need to stress that just because some of the services are returning we are in no way going back to normal and we are a long way from our normal volume in terms of healthcare and we continue to monitor it in upcoming weeks,” he explained.

A pause on non-urgent and elective surgeries two months ago was necessary to minimize risk to those not needing emergent care, while ensuring hospitals had capacity for a surge in COVID patients. While that need has not changed, the SHA also recognizes the importance of cautiously increasing surgeries for the physical and mental well-being of those on waiting lists

“The public can expect that their healthcare experience is going to look different than it was prior to the pandemic because of the additional measures we will have to put into place to protect both patients and staff.

This will include adoptions of waiting room practices to promote physical distancing, emphasis on virtual care and screening at all healthcare facilities.

“The SHA is asking for patience as these practices are necessary for safety reasons but they may cause some inconveniences for patients as we start to get into this new routine of normal monitoring for COVID as we expand services. I would also like to remind the public that these new restrictions are still in place at our facilities which include long term care homes,” Livingstone said.

A pause on non-urgent and elective surgeries two months ago was necessary to minimize risk to those not needing emergent care, while ensuring hospitals had capacity for a surge in COVID patients. While that need has not changed, the SHA also recognizes the importance of cautiously increasing surgeries for the physical and mental well-being of those on waiting lists.

“A patient’s priority on the surgery list will be determined based on a clinical assessment by their physicians, in consultation with the patient,” SHA’s Physician Executive of Integrated Health Urban Dr. Rashaad Hansia said in a release.

“It’s not based only on the type of surgery needed. Given the complexity of the work involved to resume surgical services in as safe a manner as possible, we won’t see a significant increase right away. What we are seeing is surgeons working with their patients to assess their needs and determine who qualifies for the six week urgent category, then scheduling those for today and in the weeks ahead.”

The priority of surgeries resumed is being done in collaboration with surgeons, and based on their assessments of patients and recommendations. The availability of surgical bookings for each provider is being balanced across all the surgical specialties, and considers the availability of appropriate post-surgical care such as nursing and therapies. Medical Imaging departments are also cautiously increasing CT, MRI and other diagnostic testing to enable non-urgent and elective exams.

However, surgery bookings and the other every day health services resuming today, and in the days ahead, will not be resumed based on a one size fits all approach. Service resumption will vary based on a multitude of factors, including considerations around localized outbreak status, capacity, requirements around adhering to public health orders and other factors used to ensure safety and readiness.

“On behalf of our healthcare teams I would like to thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work through these changes together and make every effort to provide the best healthcare we can for Saskatchewan residents,” Livingstone said.

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Family says 'back and forth' between N.S., Ottawa over shooting probe 'unreal' – The Record (New Westminster)

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HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia family has made a passionate appeal for the federal and Nova Scotia governments to end the “back and forth” over which should lead a public inquiry into a recent mass shooting.

Darcy Dobson, the daughter of a licensed practical nurse who was among the 22 victims, writes in an open letter that she, her father Andrew and her five siblings “formally request the start of a public inquiry into the mass shooting on April 18 and 19.”

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The letter notes that with few answers provided more than 40 days after the tragedy, families aren’t able to heal properly, and adds “the amount of information being kept from us is deplorable.”

Premier Stephen McNeil has said he wants Ottawa to lead a public inquiry because the areas of key jurisdiction — such as the protocols followed by the RCMP — are federal.

However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t committed his government to overseeing an inquiry, saying only it will “work with the government of Nova Scotia” to get answers.

In an emailed statement Monday, Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey said the province is working with Ottawa to determine the best mechanism to provide victims’ families with answers.

“This is a matter of both federal and provincial responsibility, and the province is working with the federal government to take action and move this forward together,” Furey said.

“We believe this joint approach will yield the best results. Individuals, families, communities, and Nova Scotians impacted by this tragedy deserve no less.”

Dobson’s mother, Heather O’Brien of Truro, N.S., was killed by the gunman on April 19 as she drove along a highway in Debert, N.S.

The letter from the 30-year-old daughter is signed by the entire O’Brien family and says, “the back and forth about who’s responsible for an inquiry is unreal.”

It says mistakes were made at both the provincial and federal levels, adding, “We need answers to heal, we need answers so we can find a way to live in this new normal that we’ve been forced into.”

The letter adds that authorities should be trying to learn from one of the worst mass killings in Canadian history.

“What’s the hold up in the inquiry? Why hasn’t this happened yet? Where are we in the investigation? Was someone else involved? Why can’t we get any answers at all 40 days in?!” it asks.

“The fact that any one of us has to ask these questions is all very concerning and only makes everyone feel inadequate, unimportant and unsafe.

“Please for the people of our province, for the people of our country, for the people who have lost someone so dear to their hearts, find a way to let us start to heal.”

Dobson writes in her letter that her mother had taught her children to push strongly for what they believe in.

“This is why we are standing up. We are requesting you give us the information we all deserve.”

She also says other families may soon be joining hers in publishing requests for an inquiry to be called.

In recent weeks questions have been raised about why the RCMP didn’t issue a search warrant for the gunman’s home in Portapique, after reports of domestic abuse of his spouse and possession of illegal firearms seven years ago.

Last month, Brenda Forbes, a former neighbour of Gabriel Wortman — who was shot and killed by police on April 19 — said she reported an account of a 2013 incident of domestic violence by Wortman against his common-law spouse to the RCMP in Truro.

She said she reported witnesses telling her that Wortman had strangled and beaten his common-law partner, and she said she told police there were guns in the house.

Police have said Wortman’s rampage began late on the night of April 18 with the domestic assault of the same woman, who managed to escape and hide in the woods after the gunman assaulted her at their residence in Portapique.

The RCMP said in an email Friday it is still looking for the police record of the 2013 incident and declined further comment.

Last week saw more revelations the Mounties had received detailed warnings about Wortman.

A newly released police bulletin revealed that in May 2011, a Truro police officer had received information from a source indicating Wortman was upset about a police investigation into a break-and-enter and had “stated he wants to kill a cop.”

The officer goes on to say he was told Wortman owned a handgun and was having some “mental issues” that left him feeling stressed and “a little squirrelly.”

Thirty-three Dalhousie law professors have called for an inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act — which allows for broad terms of reference — arguing the province is responsible for the administration of justice.

Other legal experts have said another option is for a joint federal-provincial inquiry, as there are overlapping issues of provincial and federal jurisdiction.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020.

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Family says 'back and forth' between NS, Ottawa over shooting probe 'unreal' – Lethbridge Herald

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By Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press on June 1, 2020.

Heather O’Brien is shown in a handout photo from the GoFundMe page “Support for the O’Brien Family.” Heather O’Brien was among the victims of the mass killings in Nova Scotia. A Nova Scotia family is making a passionate appeal for the federal and Nova Scotia governments to end the “back and forth” over who leads a public inquiry into the province’s mass shooting. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-GoFundMe MANDATORY CREDIT

HALIFAX – A Nova Scotia family has made a passionate appeal for the federal and Nova Scotia governments to end the “back and forth” over which should lead a public inquiry into a recent mass shooting.

Darcy Dobson, the daughter of a licensed practical nurse who was among the 22 victims, writes in an open letter that she, her father Andrew and her five siblings “formally request the start of a public inquiry into the mass shooting on April 18 and 19.”

The letter notes that with few answers provided more than 40 days after the tragedy, families aren’t able to heal properly, and adds “the amount of information being kept from us is deplorable.”

Premier Stephen McNeil has said he wants Ottawa to lead a public inquiry because the areas of key jurisdiction – such as the protocols followed by the RCMP – are federal.

However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t committed his government to overseeing an inquiry, saying only it will “work with the government of Nova Scotia” to get answers.

Dobson’s mother, Heather O’Brien of Truro, N.S., was killed by the gunman on April 19 as she drove along a highway in Debert, N.S.

The letter from the 30-year-old daughter is signed by the entire O’Brien family and says, “the back and forth about who’s responsible for an inquiry is unreal.”

It says mistakes were made at both the provincial and federal levels, adding, “We need answers to heal, we need answers so we can find a way to live in this new normal that we’ve been forced into.”

The letter adds that authorities should be trying to learn from one of the worst mass killings in Canadian history.

“What’s the hold up in the inquiry? Why hasn’t this happened yet? Where are we in the investigation? Was someone else involved? Why can’t we get any answers at all 40 days in?!” it asks.

“The fact that any one of us has to ask these questions is all very concerning and only makes everyone feel inadequate, unimportant and unsafe.

“Please for the people of our province, for the people of our country, for the people who have lost someone so dear to their hearts, find a way to let us start to heal.”

Dobson writes in her letter that her mother had taught her children to push strongly for what they believe in.

“This is why we are standing up. We are requesting you give us the information we all deserve.”

She also says other families may soon be joining hers in publishing requests for an inquiry to be called.

In recent weeks questions have been raised about why the RCMP didn’t issue a search warrant for the gunman’s home in Portapique, after reports of domestic abuse of his spouse and possession of illegal firearms seven years ago.

Last month, Brenda Forbes, a former neighbour of Gabriel Wortman – who was shot and killed by police on April 19 – said she reported an account of a 2013 incident of domestic violence by Wortman against his common-law spouse to the RCMP in Truro.

She said she reported witnesses telling her that Wortman had strangled and beaten his common-law partner, and she said she told police there were guns in the house.

Police have said Wortman’s rampage began late on the night of April 18 with the domestic assault of the same woman, who managed to escape and hide in the woods after the gunman assaulted her at their residence in Portapique.

The RCMP said in an email Friday it is still looking for the police record of the 2013 incident and declined further comment.

Last week saw more revelations the Mounties had received detailed warnings about Wortman.

A newly released police bulletin revealed that in May 2011, a Truro police officer had received information from a source indicating Wortman was upset about a police investigation into a break-and-enter and had “stated he wants to kill a cop.”

The officer goes on to say he was told Wortman owned a handgun and was having some “mental issues” that left him feeling stressed and “a little squirrelly.”

Thirty-three Dalhousie law professors have called for an inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act – which allows for broad terms of reference – arguing the province is responsible for the administration of justice.

Other legal experts have said another option is for a joint federal-provincial inquiry, as there are overlapping issues of provincial and federal jurisdiction.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020.

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Calls intensify for public inquiry into Nova Scotia mass murders – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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TRURO, N.S. — The daughter of one of Nova Scotia’s mass shooting victims is calling for an immediate start to a public inquiry into the April tragedy.

Darcy Dobson, daughter of victim Heather O’Brien, posted a message on Facebook to “formally request” the start of a public inquiry into shootings on April 18 and 19 in northern Nova Scotia that left 22 people dead.

“We are now 40 days past this tragic event, we aren’t able to heal properly because, and to be quite frank, the amount of information being kept from us is deplorable,” Dobson said. “I urge you to put yourselves in our shoes. The woman who was the center of our world was taken from us in a manner that no one could ever even imagine.”

Dobson’s plea echoes earlier calls for an inquiry, including one last month from 33 of Dalhousie University’s approximately 40 faculty members of its Schulich School of Law. A group of seven Nova Scotia women fighting femicide have also called for a public inquiry “with a feminist analysis.”

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has previously said such a review should be led by the federal government, with support and assistance coming from the province.
Cumberland-Colchester MP Lenore Zann is also calling on Ottawa to begin a public inquiry into the event.



“I am officially requesting an independent public inquiry into the recent mass shootings that took place here in our usually peaceful community of Northern Nova Scotia,” she wrote in a letter to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. “There are issues of concern about the murderer’s behaviour long before, leading up to, and during the horrendous events of April 18 and 19, when in a period of 13 hours, 22 innocent people in several small rural communities were viciously murdered.

“Many of my constituents want answers.”

That position was supported by Dobson in her Facebook post. 

“We understand that there is an active investigation,” the Debert resident said. “We also know we have rights to information, especially regarding our individual circumstances. I think we can all agree that public safety is of the utmost importance and feeling safe in our communities is a must. The back and forth about who’s responsible for an inquiry is unreal. It causes the families of this senseless crime more distress and again I’m sure we can all agree that is not okay.”

The mass murders by a Halifax denturist who was ultimate fatally shot by police have been described as the worst massacre in Canadian history. 
If that is so, Dobson said, “… why are we not trying to learn from it? 

“The fact that any one of us has to ask these questions is all very concerning and only makes everyone feel, inadequate, unimportant and unsafe.”

Zann said she spoke personally with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week to request his support for an independent public inquiry. She said he “appeared supportive of the idea and open to working out something with the province…” which leases RCMP services from the federal government.

“The PM seemed to clearly understand the grief, pain and fear that this horrendous violence has brought upon Nova Scotians and the growing frustration due to the lack of information,” Zann said.

“Thirty years after the Polytechnique massacre in Montreal which, shockingly, did not ever receive a public inquiry, surely this time it is our duty to do the right thing and hold a substantive independent inquiry into this recent tragedy,” she said.

Zann said she does not think a public inquiry should be held before the RCMP completes its investigation of the tragedy, but stressed the public should know that one will be forthcoming.
 

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