Quality health care continues to be an important priority for Nova Scotia. To provide the programs and services that Nova Scotians count on, money must be invested wisely. Health-care spending has been increasing by more than eight per cent each year for the past 10 years, or about 48 per cent of the provincial budget. This growth rate cannot be sustained. This year, the health-care budget will be increased by about five per cent, which equates to an additional $140 million for health-care priorities that are important to Nova Scotians. Overall, more than $3 billion will be allocated to Health and Health Promotion and Protection — more than ever before. To better respond to the needs of patients and families living with cancer, $2.7 million will be allocated for oncology operations at Capital Health and the Cape Breton District Health Authority. Another $300,000 will be spent on a colorectal screening program, as recommended by Cancer Care Nova Scotia. Prevention is a critical component of the health-care system. Working within a federal program, almost $3 million will be spent to vaccinate girls and young women against the Human Papillomavirus, known to cause almost all cervical cancers, which kills 400 Canadian women every year. This year, $5 million will be spent to develop a new Pharmacare program for Nova Scotians without drug insurance. Once it is in place, it will almost double the number of Nova Scotian families eligible for coverage by a provincial pharmacare program. In total, $189.6 million will be spent on Pharmacare, including $134.9 million for Senior’s Pharmacare (an increase of $10 million over last year), almost $53 million for income assistance recipients and their dependents, and $2 million for children of low-income parents. The province will invest $755,000 to improve environmental health protection activities across government, which includes additional funding for staff to promote food and drinking-water safety standards. -30- Note: Note: For further 2007-08 budget information, see the Department of Finance website at www.gov.ns.ca/finance.