HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative health critic Chris d’Entremont says today’s Emergency Room accountability report shows the growing impacts of the McNeil Liberals lack of health care planning.
“The Liberals have no plan for health care and it shows,” says d’Entremont. “The government wants to claim that emergency department closures are unpredictable, but yet they’ve been told again again that there is a dangerous shortage of doctors, nurses, and paramedics. This isn’t about unpredictability, this is about poor management in our fragile health system.”
d’Entremont says the family doctor crisis is having devastating impacts on the province.
“When so many Nova Scotians don’t have a family doctor, they are forced to rely on Emergency Rooms for their primary health care,” says d’Entremont. “Today’s report shows that in far too many communities, people cannot trust that the Emergency Room will be open when they need it.”
According to the government release, “emergency department closures that are unpredictable and unplanned are considered temporary closures. These were a result of emergency department staff (doctors, nurses, or paramedics) unavailability.” The McNeil government admits that “temporary closures present a challenge for both patients and the provincial emergency care system.” In 2015/2016, sixteen hospitals experienced temporary closures.
The report also shows that closures are up overall by 2.5 per cent. The number of scheduled closures increased by 11 per cent due to staffing issues in some hospitals.
“We have a crisis in care and the Premier wants to put a bandaid on it” says d’Entremont. “Communities around the province are crying for a real plan to address doctor recruitment and retention, but all they get are statistics and broken political promises.”
d’Entremont points to specific challenges at hospitals such as Roseway Hospital, Northside General, Glace Bay Health Care Facility and South Cumberland.
“These are just four emergency rooms that are facing serious shortages and increasing closures,” he says. “The people of these communities deserve a government focused on developing and delivering a real plan to address the doctor shortage.”
d’Entremont is also very worried about the northern region of the province. The report indicates that people in Cape Breton, Antigonish and Guysborough are disproportionately without health care.