January 18th, 2023

Houston must support health care workers to address emergency care crisis

Halifax — Nova Scotians continue to worry about the state of emergency care while frontline health care providers remain overworked and in need of support.

“Today’s announcement by the Houston government includes many ideas that have been on the table for years. We’re glad to see this government finally taking some steps forward on physician assistants and collaborative care but Nova Scotians need to see immediate changes to help those providing care, and ensure that people get the care they need. It is not clear that what has been announced today will be enough to reverse the worsening trend in our ERs and our healthcare system as a whole,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “This plan to improve emergency care doesn’t address some of the biggest questions around retention and staffing levels or how to ensure rural ERs are open more often. People deserve a government that has their backs and is ready to answer these questions.”

While the plan to expand access to virtual care and the likely further reliance on private travel nursing companies may provide short-term support, there are concerns about a growing trend of relying on private companies to provide care in the public system.

“We need the Premier to support and protect the public, universal health care system that all Nova Scotians want and deserve,” said NDP Health and Wellness spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “The Houston government needs to show Nova Scotians exactly what they’re doing today to improve health care and support frontline workers so that people have renewed confidence they will get the care they need, when they need it.”

The Houston government must focus on retention by addressing many of the concerns brought forward by the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians and the NSGEU. They should look into creating a provincial travel nurse system, quickly expand collaborative care clinics provincewide to reduce the number of people on the primary care wait list, and immediately hire physician assistants to work in every regional hospital ER in the province.