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Our health-care system is a mix of non-profit and for-profit, paid and volunteer, self-employed and salaried employees, and government and privately financed organizations.

Individuals, families and volunteers also make invaluable contributions.

The Nova Scotia Department of Health is responsible for and committed to the ongoing improvement of our provincial health-care system. We work to improve the health of all Nova Scotians by:

  • Setting strategic direction and standards for health services
  • Ensuring the availability of quality health care
  • Monitoring, evaluating and reporting on performance and outcomes
  • Funding health services

Under the Department of Health, the province is divided geographically into nine district health authorities, in addition to the IWK Health Centre, the Maritime's only tertiary-care hospital for children and youth. These health authorities and the IWK are supported by Community Health Boards.

The district health authorities govern, plan, manage, deliver, monitor, and fund health services according to the health needs of their communities. This includes the delivery of acute and tertiary care as well as programs and services through their hospitals and clinics.

Nova Scotia is recognized as having the best ambulance system in Canada, and one of the best in North America. Our ground and air ambulances play a critical role in emergency health care in our province. All of Nova Scotia's ground ambulances, for example, are equipped with defibrillators capable of performing the same type of electrocardiogram test on a patient at the scene as a patient with chest pain would normally receive in the hospital.

Recognizing the importance of preventative measures in improving the health of all Nova Scotians, the Department of Health Promotion and Protection was created in 2006 the first such stand-alone department in Canada. The new department includes Nova Scotia Health Promotion, the Public Health branch of the Department of Health, and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. By bringing together experts in promotion, prevention, and protection, we are taking a vital step forward in creating a healthier and safer Nova Scotia.

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