Physicians at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital say their place of work continues to be overcrowded – putting a strain on both the facility and staff.

Just days after Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil made several healthcare-related announcements in the region, including new health centres for North Sydney and New Waterford; the island’s largest hospital says it needs assistance now.

Hospital staff describes the emergency department as full, with crowded hallways – making conditions less than ideal.

“The situation in our emergency department right now is very dangerous,” says physician, Margaret Fraser. “It was very difficult to get anything done yesterday, and we had very, very sick patients coming in regularly and nowhere to put them.”

On Tuesday in Middleton, N.S., McNeil said the province plans to build a new $12M primary health centre there, with plans to recruit medical staff almost immediately. McNeil acknowledged attracting primary caregivers to Nova Scotia is a challenge and said the province must build the appropriate infrastructure to stay competitive.

“Unfortunately, all of the things that he has announced are things that are going to possibly help in the long term,” says Fraser. “We have had some new physicians start this month, but it will take time for them to get their feet under them and get up to speed on working in the emergency department. We need help now – we don't need help in four years.”

Contributing to the overcrowding at Cape Breton Regional, are several recent ER closures in the CBRM.

“In addition to putting a strain on the resources of the hospital, it's putting a strain on the resources in the emergency department because those nurses are working overtime hours,” says Fraser. “We can't keep nurses now because of the overtime that's being demanded – so this is going to cause further losses to our department, I'm sure."

Premier McNeil maintains it will be easier to recruit staff with modern facilities and infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Conservative party’s Andrew Scheer will visit Cape Breton on Thursday to meet with several groups and hold a community meeting in Glace Bay. A community group advocating for better health care says it plans on attending to ask questions concerning his plans.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore