HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Finance Minister Allan MacMaster tabled the province's 2023-24 budget Thursday, with a heavy focus on health. Some highlights:
— The $14.4-billion budget — with an estimated $278-million deficit — includes $6.5 billion spending on health care, a 13 per cent increase.
— $354 million for retention incentives for nurses and other health-care workers in the public system.
— $46.6 million to perform more surgeries and address surgical backlog by increasing operating room hours.
— $17.7 million for a range of mental health initiatives, which include establishing a second mental health day hospital.
— $44 million to create permanent and temporary long-term care spaces for people waiting to move from hospital to long-term care.
— $22.6 million for emergency health services, including the purchase of a fixed-wing air ambulance.
— $117.4 million in costs related to damage from post-tropical storm Fiona.
— $140 million to Efficiency Nova Scotia to help homeowners, particularly those on low incomes, switch from oil for home heating.
— $57.7 million towards the electronic health records "One Person One Record" digital medical record program.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2023.
The Canadian Press