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A lineup for ambulances and closed ICU beds paint a grim picture in Moncton


A video shared on social media of multiple parked ambulances waiting to unload patients at Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton, N.B., are highlighting a bleak reality.

Officials say it is a direct response to multiple challenges within the hospital’s walls right now.

In a statement to CTV News, Dr. Natalie Banville Senior, the senior vice-president of Clinical Programs and Medical Affairs for Vitalité Health Network, said, in part, "limited access to primary care, hospitalization of patients awaiting admission to long-term care facilities, staff shortages and an increase in respiratory viruses are contributing to delays in our emergency departments."

She says the hospital is also reporting an outbreak of vancomycin-resistant enterococci, a bacteria resistant infection known as VRE, in the internal medicine and telemetry unit, which is exacerbating the problems.

“The public can do their part by avoiding emergency department visits for non-urgent problems and by adopting practices to prevent the transmission of infections,” added Banville Senior.

Christianna Williston, the director of communications and stakeholder relations with Ambulance New Brunswick, did confirm that 11 ambulances were parked outside of the emergency department at Georges Dumont on Tuesday at approximately 4 p.m.

“Seven of those ambulances were experiencing offload delays at that time,” said Williston in an email to CTV News. “Of the remaining four ambulances, three were at the emergency department for scheduled patient transfers, and the other ambulance was scheduled to pick up a patient to return them to a nursing home.”

She says, at the same time, there were three ambulances at The Moncton Hospital that were experiencing offload delays. 

In response to the parked ambulances, New Brunswick’s Minister of Health Bruce Fitch said more should be on the road soon.

"I was in Campbellton, the EMT school is starting up there Jan. 1 [2023], well received within the community. It's going to free up paramedics to have more ambulances on the road,” he said in Fredericton on Wednesday.

“I also went to the school in Moncton, which is also going to have EMTs on the road, there's 20 people there who should be in the ambulances probably by the end of December."

Unfortunately, it is the tale of two hospitals in the city. Just streets away at The Moncton Hospital, recruiting challenges have forced ICU beds to close.

In a statement to CTV News, the executive director Christa Wheeler-Thorne said, in part, “we can confirm we have temporarily combined our Coronary Care and Neuro ICUs at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital (TMH). There are, collectively, 10 funded beds on these units, however the decision was recently made to temporarily close five of these beds as we navigate through these staffing challenges”

She adds that Horizon Health Network hasn’t had to create any temporary care spaces at this time and that teams are managing the current situation well.

“Horizon has a plan to recruit and retain health-care workers, including critical care staff, to our organization and we prioritize this each and every day,” she added.

However, the situation is leaving residents alarmed.

Right now, there is a New Brunswick Health Coalition rally planned for Dec. 16 in front of Champlain Place in Dieppe, N.B., with one main message for government -- spend more money on the health-care system. Top Stories

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