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New N.S. Health Authority head wants public’s ideas on how to improve health-care system

The new president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority says feedback from the public will be fundamental in guiding his decisions as he takes on his new role.

Just three weeks into the job, Dr. Brendan Carr knows he’s leading an organization with an image problem, but he’s determined to help the province see the successes in the health-care system.

Carr, who grew up in Sydney River, N.S., returned to the province after stints leading health authorities in British Columbia and Ontario.

“Having been in other places has given me the opportunity to see that a lot of the really nasty challenges that we’re facing here are the same issues that are going on in other parts of the country,” he said during his first news conference.

Carr, who will serve a five-year term in the position, said recruitment and emergency closures are among his immediate priorities.

First steps in new role

He’ll spend the next few months travelling the province talking to staff and learning about the system. He also wants to hear directly from patients.

“We need to hear from people, we need to understand exactly what they’re experiencing so we can improve the system,” Carr said.

He said people can expect to see some immediate changes, including the restructuring of the executive level, which has already begun.

Carr believes that will bring a stronger voice from the rural parts of the province.

“We do have to have a structure … that is designed to be able to connect with and engage with those various communities,” he said.

‘I see a system that has the right fundamentals’

Carr said he hopes to bring balance to people’s perceptions.

“There’s been a lot of innovation in Nova Scotia in terms of the way we deliver services that is actually being modelled in other parts of the country,” he said. “I see a system that has the right fundamentals.”

For example, Carr said since the health authority took the lead on recruiting, more than 430 physicians have moved to the province.

“I would suggest to you that those numbers are competitive with every other jurisdiction in the country, if not better,” he said.

Carr hopes to continue building partnerships with communities and increase their role in recruitment efforts.

“I think it’s part of the recipe for success,” he said.

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