Union report on ER overcrowding raises more concerns about Liberal record on health care
March 27, 2017
For Immediate Release
HALIFAX – Overcrowding in emergency rooms is leading to patients being treated in hallways, record high wait times, and multiple ambulances being tied up waiting to admit patients, according to a report released today by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union.
“People who need emergency care shouldn’t have to wait more than 24 hours to see someone or have to be treated in a hallway,” said NDP Health Critic Dave Wilson. “The health of Nova Scotians should be our first priority, and again, the Liberal government is failing the people who need our health care system the most.”
The report looks primarily at the impact of overcrowding at the Halifax Infirmary Emergency Department. According to the report, it is not uncommon for more than 240 people to visit the Emergency Department on a given day and staff report that patients are sicker and have more complex health needs than in the past.
In 2013, the Liberal government promised a doctor for every Nova Scotian. Numbers released last week show that there are more than 100,000 people in Nova Scotia without a family doctor. The Liberals have also underspent the health care infrastructure budget by 50 per cent, meaning that only half the money allocated to hospital infrastructure has been used.
The overcrowding in the Emergency Department is exacerbated by patients waiting to be admitted to long-term care facilities. In some cases, patients may be waiting in hospital as long as a year before being transferred to a long-term care facility. Over the last two years, the McNeil Liberals have cut $8.4 million from long-term care, and have not opened a single long-term care bed since taking over government.
“Families with a sick child or a parent who needs a long-term care bed, not a hospital room, can’t afford another budget where Stephen McNeil cuts key services or refuses to invest in primary care,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “We can and must make the investments in our hospitals and clinics that will make sure people in our province can access the health care they need, when and where they need it.”
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