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Retiring Nova Scotia Health Authority CEO reflects on the state of health care

Janet Knox was in Truro for Nova Scotia Health Authority meetings recently. The CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority is retiring at the end of August.
Janet Knox was in Truro for Nova Scotia Health Authority meetings recently. The CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority is retiring at the end of August. - Lynn Curwin
TRURO, N.S. —

As she prepares to leave the position of CEO for the Nova Scotia Health Authority, Janet Knox feels things are moving in the right direction.
Knox has led the health authority since it was formed in 2014 but she will retire at the end of August.
“I’m a very big fan of amalgamation,” she said. “I was working in a district authority before that and there were things we couldn’t fully implement but have been able to do so now. There have been some positive changes but there’s no end point to the journey to have a healthier system.”
She’s pleased to note there are now more than 80 collaborative family practice teams in the province, and she’d like to see more nurse practitioners hired.
“I wish we didn’t have the need to always be recruiting physicians,” she said. “The retirement of doctors is the biggest challenge now, but efforts to attract new doctors are continuing. There are gaps in the system, in terms of what we need to do to support people. We need the system to be flexible enough for the differences, but the standards have to be the same, no matter where you live.”
Knox stresses the importance of people without doctors having their names on the list, which helps the NSHA know where to focus resources.
She notes wait times and access have improved in areas such as orthopedic surgery, home care, and dialysis, and there are more resources at local levels for mental-health care.
“I’ve lived my career trying to make a difference for the people I’ve been educated to serve,” she said. “It is really people caring for people, and it’s been a privilege to work with people who want to make a difference. People have been the highlight of my career. I think the future is bright for us. I want my children and grandchildren to be here and be healthy. I want health for all Nova Scotians.”
Knox felt it was time to retire and do some of the things she’s wanted to do, such as travelling.
 

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