NOTE: A social media version of this release with video clips is available at http://gov.ns.ca/news/smr/2011-04-06-CEC/ . Downloadable hi-res photos and audio clips will be added after the event.
Nova Scotians living in smaller communities will be able to see a doctor the same day or next day and will have 24/7 access to emergency care with the creation of Collaborative Emergency Centres.
The province's first Collaborative Emergency Centre, announced today, April 6, by Premier Darrell Dexter and Minister of Health and Wellness Maureen MacDonald, will be in Parrsboro.
Establishing these centres fulfills a key commitment of Better Care Sooner, government's response to Dr. John Ross's report.
"Emergency room closures and long waits have plagued our health care system and frustrated Nova Scotians for many years," said Premier Darrell Dexter. "Collaborative emergency centres bring together emergency departments, local family practices and other health professionals -- working as a team -- to provide better care sooner to families night and day."
In 2010-11, in Parrsboro, the emergency room was closed 525 hours. In 2009-10, it was closed 1,277 hours. Also, sometimes patients had to wait two or three weeks or more to see their family doctor.
A Collaborative Emergency Centre will provide patients with:
- access to primary health care by a team of professionals, including doctors and nurse practitioners for extended hours, seven days per week. In Parrsboro, appointments will be between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- same-day or next-day access to appointments
- advanced access to care, which means that a set number of appointments will be left open during the day at the Collaborative Emergency Centre in case patients arrive with more urgent needs
- 24/7 access to emergency care. People will now be able to come to the emergency department at any time of the day or night.
In Parrsboro, between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., a paramedic will be on site, supported by an EHS oversight physician to ensure patients get the care they need. CECs may be staffed overnight by paramedics or other health care providers working with physician oversight.
"More than anything else, Nova Scotians want peace-of-mind with regard to our health care," said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald. "Collaborative Emergency Centres are intended to match the level of service with the needs of the community. These centres will help create stability within our system."
"Paramedics are a fundamental part of the health care system," says Emergency Health Services paramedic Bradley Landry. "We work in teams everyday to provide excellent patient care across the province. We believe that collaborative health-care opportunities will provide Nova Scotians with better care sooner."
Another benefit is that physicians now will have greater control over their work hours.
"Residents who once had to wait weeks to see their family doctor, or who encountered closed doors at the ER, will soon have services matched to their needs," said Premier Dexter. "Collaborative Emergency Centres will ensure people in this province get the level of care they need and deserve."
The Collaborative Emergency Centre in Parrsboro will begin operation in July. Over the next year, the success of the centre will be evaluated. At least three more Collaborative Emergency Centres are expected to open this year. Evaluations will help create collaborative emergency centres in more areas next year.
For more information on Better Care Sooner or to download a copy of the report, visit www.gov.ns.ca/health/bettercaresooner .
FOR BROADCAST USE:
Premier Darrell Dexter and Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald announce the creation of Nova Scotia's first Collaborative Emergency Centre in Parrsboro today (April 6th).
These centres will enable Nova Scotians in smaller communities to see a doctor same-day or next-day and have 24-7 access to emergency care.
Collaborative Emergency Centres will provide patients with access to primary health care by a team of professionals, including doctors and nurse practitioners for extended hours, seven days per week. A paramedic or other health care provider with access to emergency physician will be on-site at night to ensure patients get the care they need.
Over the next year, three more centres will be announced across the province.