Change in hours at All Saints Springhill Hospital Collaborative Emergency Centre

Sept. 17, 2021

SPRINGHILL, NS -- The Emergency Department (ED) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre (CRHCC) are experiencing a sudden loss of registered nurses (RNs) due to a combination of factors, including issues made worse by the pandemic. To safely continue with care in the ED and ICU, and to avoid the potential disruption of these regional services, nurses must be urgently reassigned from other areas.

“To support the timely reassignment of critical care trained RNs, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily reduce the current hours of operation at the All Saints Springhill Hospital’s Collaborative Emergency Centre (CEC),” said Bethany McCormick, Northern Zone vice president of operations.

“We recognize the concerns this change may cause. However, our priority must be to maintain regional emergency and intensive care services for all residents of Cumberland County.”

The CEC is currently operating daily from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. It has been running at these reduced hours since the first wave of COVID-19.

Beginning on Thursday, Sept. 30, the ASSH CEC will begin offering services weekdays from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. No weekend service will be offered. These changes will remain in effect until at least January 2022 and will be reassessed at that time.

The decision to reduce hours at ASSH came after considering the proximity of Springhill to CRHCC, staffing levels, along with the timing, volume, and nature of visits to the ASSH CEC. Recent data shows the majority of visits to the CEC happen during weekdays, with 76 per cent of all visits happening on weekdays and 86 per cent of those visits occurring between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m..

Work is underway to support this transition, including identification of staff to be reassigned and orientated to their new roles at Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.

“We are confident this interim measure will allow us to quickly secure the nursing coverage needed to help maintain Cumberland County’s regional ED and ICU services,” said McCormick.

“We have had success with recent recruitment to other priority nursing areas, including those trained to support surgical care and recovery. Recruitment and retention of nurses remains an ongoing focus and priority, and we have many strategies identified or underway to support our short and longer-term needs, including signing bonuses to help attract skilled nursing professionals to the region.”

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