CORRECTION: Service reductions continue due to increased emergency visits and admissions, staffing challenges

(Note: an earlier version of this PSA provided outdated information about 15 surgical beds being closed in Central Zone)

Nova Scotia Health hospitals continue to see higher than normal emergency visits and demands for hospital beds across the province, resulting in delays in care including some surgical services. Staffing challenges also continue, including nursing vacancies, that have been made worse by the pandemic.

Unfortunately, these pressures mean we must continue to delay some surgeries requiring hospital admissions and postpone some non-urgent procedures in some areas.
  • In Central and Northern Zones, we are continually reviewing scheduled surgeries to ensure cases can proceed based on capacity.
  • In Western Zone, some surgeries have been delayed due to increased COVID-19 activity and staffing shortages.
The increase in admissions also means that surgical beds are often used to care for other patients.
Cancer and other time-sensitive surgeries that cannot be delayed will continue but many elective and same-day procedures are on hold for the next several weeks. This is necessary to create the inpatient capacity we will require to maintain flow and allow for continued emergency care.
We also anticipate patients will continue to experience longer than usual waits for care in emergency departments into the winter, particularly where there is an increase in COVID-19 cases and admissions.
Nova Scotia Health wants to remind those experiencing an emergency, that they should not hesitate to visit your nearest emergency department. Emergency departments at regional hospitals and the QEII Health Sciences Centre are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some smaller sites experience periodic closures. Any such closures are noted here:
The overall emergency system is never closed. This is due to access to Emergency Health Services (for example, 911), telemedicine, and transfers to other facilities across the province.
Anyone with urgent medical needs should call 911.
If your health concern is not urgent, we request you contact a family doctor or go to a walk-in clinic.
For general health advice and information call 811, a service offered 24/7 by experienced registered nurses.
The Mental Health Crisis Line can also be reached 24/7 by calling 1-888-429-8167.
Nova Scotia Health apologizes for the increased wait times in emergency departments and the impacts of these high demands for services on other patients and our health care providers.