HomeHealthN.S. health-care crisis: NDP calls for action on ER overcrowding

N.S. health-care crisis: NDP calls for action on ER overcrowding


Senior officers with Nova Scotia’s Health Department have been unable to reply various questions on Wednesday in regards to the state of the province’s emergency well being system, which is scuffling with overcrowding and staffing shortages.

During a legislature committee assembly Wednesday, the Health Department’s deputy minister and staff of Nova Scotia Health could not say what number of ERs have been closed or what number of public notices about crowded hospitals have been issued over the course of the previous month.

Officials have been additionally unable to supply an estimate for how lengthy Nova Scotians are ready in emergency departments at regional hospitals or at Halifax’s kids’s hospital IWK Health Centre.

Emergency division wait instances are “far too lengthy, however I haven’t got the precise numbers in entrance of me,” Dr. Tanya Munroe, a senior medical director with the well being authority, informed the committee.

Liberal member of legislature Brendan Maguire informed the committee it was irritating to not have solutions to those “quite simple questions.”

Maguire mentioned he would count on that “people in senior administration positions within the Department of Health and Nova Scotia Health authority ought to be capable of reply.”

NDP well being spokesperson Susan Leblanc mentioned she was upset by the shortage of solutions, a press release that was echoed by the committee’s chair, Liberal get together member Kelly Regan.

“We have various questions, lots of which weren’t answered right here at this time,” Regan mentioned towards the top of the assembly. “We need solutions by the top of the week.”

Regan mentioned she’s going to compile upwards of 10 unanswered questions from Wednesday’s listening to and submit them to Nova Scotia Health, the Department of Health and the IWK to be answered earlier than the following committee assembly, scheduled for Nov. 30.

Nova Scotia’s hospitals are coping with excessive numbers of sick sufferers, as influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID-19 are circulating on the identical time. The head of pediatrics at IWK Health Centre informed reporters final week that there have been extra sick kids within the province’s hospitals than he had seen in 30 years.

Deputy minister of well being Jeannine Lagasse informed the committee Wednesday she is “very conscious” that work is required to enhance the province’s emergency well being system. “The actuality we face in Nova Scotia and throughout the nation is that our emergency departments are dealing with extra demand than ever earlier than,” Lagasse mentioned.

“The means we’ve at all times performed issues shouldn’t be working, the time for change is now,” she mentioned.

Adding stress to the well being system is the excessive variety of vacant nursing positions throughout the province, Lagasse mentioned. The deputy minister mentioned that as a result of the health-care system is complicated, bettering the crowding and wait instances is “not so simple as including extra workers to current emergency departments.”

She mentioned that addressing the pressures on the community would require many modifications, together with using digital care in ERs and permitting extra flexibility for workers scheduling, to enhance retention.

Suzy Hansen, the NDP member of legislature for Halifax Needham, requested the deputy minister if the province will have a look at elevating nurse wages to enhance recruitment. Lagasse responded that the province will think about elevating salaries, “however we predict there are a selection of issues past collective bargaining” that may assist with recruitment and retention.

Premier Tim Houston’s Progressive Conservatives gained the August 2021 election with a marketing campaign that centered largely on fixing the province’s well being system. As of Nov. 1, there have been 120,400 Nova Scotians on the wait-list for a household physician or nurse practitioner — up from lower than 81,300 individuals on the identical time final yr.

On Aug. 31, the province opened its digital primary-care providers to all Nova Scotians on the wait-list for a household physician or nurse practitioner. The province has 55 household docs and 12 nurse practitioners who’ve basic follow commitments however who’re additionally working half time in digital care.

There are between 150 and 200 digital well being visits accessible on a typical weekday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Nov. 23, 2022.

This story was produced with the monetary help of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.



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