Pandemic causes delays and shortages in Maritime health care system
HALIFAX -- The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many issues in the Maritime provinces' medical systems, including delays in receiving care, cancer screening, shortages in medication, and long waits for blood collection.
There has been some improvement in recent weeks, but the health-care system is still adjusting to the pressures brought on by the pandemic.
Halifax pharmacy owner Jamie Flynn says being short on some medications is an issue at the best of times.
“COVID-19 has probably made that worse,” says Flynn, who owns The Medicine Shoppe.
Flynn says his inventory is mostly well stocked, but not at 100 per cent.
“A popular cholesterol medication didn’t come in, some eye drops didn’t come in, an antibiotic didn’t come in,” says Flynn of his daily supply.
Delays and shortages, combined with the pandemic, can be unsettling for patients who have heightened concerns about their own health.
“There’s always a fear for people,” says Flynn.
The health-care system in general has experienced shortages and delays across the board.
One patient tells CTV News it took more than 50 phone calls to get through and schedule a blood collection appointment.
Family doctor Ajantha Jayabarathan says non-urgent breast cancer screenings are being delayed, and there is an increased demand for semi-urgent care.
Virtual care through phone and video conference has also alleviated some of the demand.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says the latest statistics show 64 per cent of schedules have been completed or rescheduled.
Progress is also being made with endoscopies; 536 were completed the week of July 27, an increase of more than 600 per cent from the 89 that were completed the week of May 18.