Nova Scotians want more information about options for emergency care, Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald found on her recent visit to communities.
Since January, Ms. MacDonald met with about 250 health care providers, residents and community leaders in Tatamagouche, Lunenburg, Springhill, New Waterford, Musqudoboit Valley, Canso and Annapolis Royal. The tour was part of government's commitment to implement recommendations made by Dr. John Ross in his health plan to improve emergency care, Better Care Sooner.
In the coming month the minister will consider the feedback she heard leading to decisions about where to open Collaborative Emergency Centres this year.
"Dr. Ross told us to communicate, communicate, communicate and we heard the same thing from people using the health care system," said Ms. MacDonald. "Everywhere we went they wanted to know more about the 811 nurse phone line, more about our paramedics."
Nova Scotians have trained professional to provide rapid response care. Emergency Health Service is training advanced paramedics across the province to administer life-saving drugs to people in cardiac arrest as soon as they get radio approval from an emergency room physician. There is also great interest for more information about the 24-hour nurse telephone line, HealthLink 811.
"We started raising public awareness about these services over Christmas and from what I heard, there is still more work ahead so that people are comfortable using these services as part of the health care system," said Ms. MacDonald. "They are looking forward to predictable service instead of guessing what is open and what isn't.
"There is a clear appetite for collaborative practices that provide same day appointments for people."
In December, government launched a public awareness campaign promoting HealthLink 811 and the highly trained paramedics that serve communities throughout the province.
The campaign resulted in a 30 per cent increase in the use of the 811 nurse line. HealthLink 811 now receives about 400 calls a day from people wanting health information, ranging from whether they should take their baby to the hospital with a fever to questions about symptoms that can require them to go directly to the emergency room. It provides peace of mind and helps ensure effective use of emergency rooms.
The campaign included radio and television ads and cost about $195,000.
The next phase of the campaign will help inform Nova Scotians on how and when to use the different health care services that make up the emergency care system.
For more information go to www.gov.ns.ca/health/bettercaresooner
FOR BROADCAST USE:
Nova Scotians want more information about options for
emergency care, Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald
found on her visit to seven communities across the
province in January.
Ms. MacDonald says Dr. John Ross told government to
communicate, communicate, communicate and she heard the same
thing from people using the health care system.
She says people wanted to know more about the 8-1-1 nurse
phone line and paramedics.
A public awareness campaign was launched to improve
education about the 8-1-1 nurse line and the new capabilities
of paramedics. The campaign increased calls to the nurse
line by about 30 per cent. For more information visit the
department website under better care sooner.
Media Contact: Sherri Aikenhead
Health and Wellness