March 14th, 2019

Liberals must act to address ER overcrowding, ambulance offload delays

HALIFAX-- The McNeil Liberals’ inaction on health care continues to lead to problems in the province’s emergency rooms. Doctors at hospitals throughout the province including the Dartmouth General, Cape Breton Regional, and Valley Regional have spoken out recently about the worsening state of affairs.

“We have heard from health care workers, patients, and health care administrators - the McNeil government is failing at maintaining the health care system,” said NDP Health spokesperson and member of the Health Committee, Tammy Martin. “We can no longer wait for half-measures and small improvements; something has to be done.”

Twenty per cent of hospital beds in the province are occupied because those patients have to wait for a spot in a nursing home or for home care to be arranged. In the first two months of 2019, Nova Scotia paramedics called #codecritical 225 times, meaning the number of ambulances available in at least one region of the province was especially low. Community ERs continue to deal with temporary closures due to lack of staff which puts increased pressure on the province’s regional hospitals.

“When we are hearing on almost a daily basis about long waits in our emergency rooms and people who are afraid they won’t get the care they need, the scope of the problem is undeniable,” said NDP Health Committee member Susan Leblanc. “We need to listen to people on the ground and act with the urgency this situation demands.”

The standing committee on Health will discuss ER overcrowding and ambulance offload delays today after the NDP successfully changed the topic of the meeting due to the urgent nature of these problems in emergency care.