Nova Scotia's First Collaborative Emergency Centre Announced

Published by the Premier's Office

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

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 by Premier Darrell Dexter and Minister of Health and Wellness Maureen MacDonald, will be in Parrsboro.


Emergency room closures and long waits have plagued our health care system and frustrated Nova Scotians for many years. 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. Premier Darrell Dexter

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. Collaborative Emergency Centres will ensure people in this province get the level of care they need and deserve. Premier Darrell Dexter

More than anything else, Nova Scotians want peace-of-mind with regard to our health care. 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. Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald

Paramedics are a fundamental part of the health care system. 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. Emergency Health Services paramedic Bradley Landry

Quick Facts

  • Establishing Collaborative Emergency Centres fulfills a key commitment of Better Care Sooner, government's response to Dr. John Ross's report.
  • 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.
  • Another benefit is that physicians now will have greater control over their work hours.
  • 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.

Learn More

Media Contact

Janet Lynn McNeil
Premier's Office
Cell: 902-237-4287
Carla Grant
Health and Wellness
Cell: 902-478-1683


Lisa West, model of care co-ordinator at the South Cumberland Community Care Center, at work.
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Premier Darrell Dexter shakes hands with residents before the Collaborate Emergency Centre announcement in Parrsboro.
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Premier Darrell Dexter announces that Parrsboro will have the first of at least four Collaborate Emergency Centres to be created this year.
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Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald talks about the new Collaborate Emergency Centres as Premier Darrell Dexter looks on.
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Media are focused on Dr. John Ross, whose report recommended Collaborate Emergency Centres be created.
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Dr. John Ross, provincial advisor on emergency care, talks about his report which recommended Collaborate Emergency Centres be created.
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Premier Darrell Dexter answers questions from the media during a scrum after the Collaborate Emergency Centres announcement in Parrsboro.
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Premier Darrell Dexter talks about Collaborative Emergency Centres
Doctor Karen Fewer
Brad Landry Paramedic
Sandy MacLachlan Resident


Premier Darrell Dexter says this is one of the most important health-care announcements in the province's history.
Premier Dexter says the Better Care Sooner plan is changing health care in the province.
Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald says the CECs will be a team made up of emergency departments and local family practices.
Dr. John Ross, the province's Emergency Room Advisor, says the CECs will be designed to fit individual communities.