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Royal Commission on Health Care

The Royal Commission on Health Care in Nova Scotia was known as the Gallant Commission after its chair, J. Camille Gallant, who was appointed by Premier John Buchanan’s Progressive Conservative government in 1987 “with a mandate to determine the causes of the high increases in the cost of health care and recommend means of reducing and controlling these costs” (James Bickerton, “Reforming Health Care Governance: The Case of Nova Scotia,” Journal of Canadian Studies 34, No. 2 [Summer 1999]: 167). From 1987 to 1989, the Gallant Commission accepted submissions, reflecting a wide range of concerns, from 322 groups and concerned individuals, plus suggested solutions. The commission distilled its findings into five guiding principles: “. . . health policies oriented to health outcomes, participation of citizens, decentralization and regionalization, accountability and matching resources to health needs” (“Reforming Health Care Governance”: 169). The commission also emphasized preventive medicine, limiting the number of doctors in an area, paying salaries instead of fees-for-service, and creating four regional health authorities to plan and manage allocation of resources and delivery of services more efficiently. The Gallant Commission’s recommendations were not implemented by the Buchanan government and were ignored until Premier Donald Cameron responded to them in 1991. Under Cameron, most of the commission’s recommendations were accepted in principle, although few changes were made. The Cameron government’s pace of health care reform, however, was harshly criticized by its own advisory body, the Provincial Health Council, and Cameron lost the 1993 election, partly due to health care issues.

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010