High number of emergency visits and admissions, combined with staffing pressures, leading to service reductions
Hospitals throughout Nova Scotia continue to see higher than normal emergency visits and demands for hospital beds, which are resulting in delays in care, including some surgical services.
These pressures come at a time when Nova Scotia, like other provinces and territories, is also experiencing considerable staffing challenges, including nursing vacancies, that have been made worse by the pandemic.
This situation has required some facilities to close surgical beds, reduce or change OR schedules, delay some surgeries requiring hospital admissions and postpone some non-urgent procedures. The increase in admissions also means that surgical beds must often be used to care for other patients.
Unfortunately, pressures continue to grow so we must make further reductions to our surgical capacity in Central and Northern zones. Cancer and other time-sensitive surgeries that cannot be delayed will continue but many elective and same-day procedures will be put on hold through at least the end of next week. 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 fall, particularly with the increase in COVID-19 cases and admissions now being experienced in the province.
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: https://www.nshealth.ca/temporaryclosures
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 increased wait times in emergency departments and the impacts of these high demands for services on other patients and our health care providers.
We know these past 19 months have been very difficult for everyone and we continue to ask a lot of our staff and physicians. We are aware of too many situations where our staff have been subjected to abusive behaviour and language, including personal threats. This is not acceptable and is adding to our staffing recruitment and retention challenges. Please be kind and know that we are here to help.
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