News release

Government Releases Second Accountability Report on Emergency Departments

There were 196 fewer hours of overall emergency department closures and unscheduled closures were down by 1,195 hours last year according to the annual Accountability Report on Emergency Departments.

Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness, tabled the report in the Nova Scotia legislature today, May 19.

The report, which provides data to enhance understanding of the challenges facing the province's emergency care system, will help government provide better health care to families across Nova Scotia.

"This report tells us that there has been some progress in reducing emergency department closures, but there is more work ahead," said Ms. MacDonald. "The data contained in this report helped us develop Better Care Sooner, our plan to improve emergency care in Nova Scotia."

Over the past year, government has taken a number of actions under Better Care Sooner which will lead to more improvements in emergency health services, such as:

  • introducing Nova Scotia's first Collaborative Emergency Centre in Parrsboro, with three more centres to be launched this year
  • diverting almost 1,200 patients from the QEII emergency department to the new Rapid Assessment Unit
  • hiring paramedics to work at nursing homes so seniors can be treated where they live, rather than making the frail and elderly wait in ambulances at the ER
  • training Advanced Care Paramedics under the RESTORE program so that they can immediately give life-saving drugs to Nova Scotians having heart attacks, rather than waiting until they arrive at hospital
  • launching the Supportive Care Program, which gives low-income seniors and their caregivers greater control and flexibility to organize homecare
  • launching a Healthlink 811 public awareness campaign so people know they can call a nurse 24 hours a day and receive professional advice over the telephone

According to the Accountability Report on Emergency Departments, in 2010-11 emergency departments in hospitals across the province were open 94.3 per cent of the time. Twenty-five of the province's 38 hospitals had no closures over the past year.

Thirteen hospitals did have closures, for a total of 18,920 hours. Scheduled emergency department closures, which are predicted and planned for well in advance, increased in 2010-11 by 999 hours.

The annual report is required under the province's Emergency Department Closures Accountability Act, introduced by Ms. MacDonald in 2009. It requires district health authorities consult with their communities about closures during public forums and to consider solutions proposed by the community to keep emergency departments open.

The annual Accountability Report on Emergency Departments will also serve as a benchmark so data can be compared and progress charted annually.

The report is available at www.gov.ns.ca/health .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotia has more information that will help strengthen emergency care across the province.

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald today (May 19th) released the second annual Accountability Report on Emergency Departments.

The report shows that emergency rooms were open 94-point-3 per cent of the time last year (2010-2011.)

Ms. MacDonald says the report is an important step in improving emergency care in the province.

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Media Contact:

Carla Grant
Department of Health and Wellness 902-424-7558 Cell: 902-478-1683 E-mail: