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N.S. wait times, emergency department closures up in: accountability report


Nova Scotia’s accountability report shows longer wait times at emergency departments, an increase in unplanned closures, and a notable drop in emergency department hours.

The report covers the fiscal year from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.

“We know as a province that we’ve had a big population growth so some of the issues that we’re seeing are issues of growth. In other cases we do know we have high chronic disease rates in Nova Scotia,” said Health Minister Michelle Thompson.

The figures show Nova Scotia’s emergency department care for more than 570,000 patients at community, regional, and tertiary hospitals across the province. There were 79,813 emergency department closure hours and there were just over 79,800 emergency department closure hours at community hospitals.

“Given what we know about the numbers of people that are here in the province and who run those emergency departments, it’s not surprising that it’s been happening year-over-year, so I wouldn’t have expected things to be all better,” said Dr. Colin Audain, president of Doctors Nova Scotia.

Patients on average are waiting almost three hours to be seen, according to the report.

There were more than 42,600 visits to the IWK emergency department and almost 3,700 patients left the hospital without being seen.

At Nova Scotia emergency departments, there were 530,000 visits, and just over 55,000 patients left without being seen.

“We know we have recruitment challenges and we’re working very hard. We’re very pleased with the contract as an example that we’ve recently settled with physicians. We’re looking at expanding roles like nurse practitioners and physician assistants,” said Thompson.

Audain said he’s optimistic that changes will come, but they could take years.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories


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