News release

Standards Will Ensure Quality Emergency Care

Nova Scotia should adopt standards to raise the quality and consistency of emergency care in every region of the province, says the province's emergency care advisor.

"Standards will ensure predictability of emergency care so patients will know that they can expect to get high-quality care in each of our 38 hospitals," said Dr. John Ross. "Standards are a way to set out exactly what kinds of care are needed and how quick they should be provided to patients."

Dr. Ross released the emergency care standards to Health Minister Maureen MacDonald, today, Dec. 2. The standards are requirements for patient access, triage, patient transfer, staffing qualifications and site performance. The standards follow the release of Dr. Ross's report on emergency care.

"These recommended standards are raising the bar on emergency care in the province and are the final piece government needs before releasing the plan on how to improve emergency care," said Ms. MacDonald.

Dr. Ross's standards were developed with input from health professionals who specialize in providing and managing emergency care, district health authorities and community health boards. Nova Scotia would be the first in the country to have provincewide standards.

"Standards are an effective mechanism by which a uniform and thorough approach to care can be taken and a way of measuring and improving quality right across the system," said Wendy Nicklin, president and CEO of Accreditation Canada. "The creation of these important new standards complement the Accreditation Canada Emergency Department and emergency medical standards, and their use demonstrates that safety and quality in emergency care is a priority."

Accreditation Canada helps health care organizations across Canada improve operational effectiveness.

The emergency care standards would require that all provincial, regional and community emergency departments as well as paramedics use the Canadian Triage Acuity Scoring system when assessing patients. Standards are also recommended to provide certainty around patient transfer to the nearest and most appropriate facility.

Staffing standards would require physicians, nurses and paramedics to meet minimum training and certification requirements, with a performance appraisal every two years.

Dr. Ross also recommends standards for emergency department and hospital performance that include ambulance off-load times and maximum length of stay standards in the emergency department before admission or discharge.

The standards are available at .


The province's emergency care advisor says implementing standards will ensure predictability and consistency of patient care.

Dr. John Ross released his emergency care standards today, (December 2nd) as a follow-up to his emergency care report.

The standards are minimum requirements for patient access, triage, patient transfer, staffing qualifications and site performance.

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald says that standards will raise the bar on emergency care.


Media Contact:

John Muir
Department of Health 902-424-2583 Cell: 902-233-2809 E-mail: