Collaborative Emergency Centre for New Waterford Approved

December 21, 2012

Nova Scotians living in New Waterford are closer to being able to see a doctor same-day or next-day and having 24-7 access to emergency care.

The province has approved the Cape Breton District Health Authority’s proposal to establish a Collaborative Emergency Centre at New Waterford Consolidated Hospital. It includes a convenient mobile unit for people in the area.

The CEC will provide:
— access to primary health care by a team of professionals, including doctors and nurse practitioners for extended hours, seven days per week
— same-day or next-day access to appointments
— 24/7 access to emergency care

The CEC mobile unit will provide overnight care to residents in their homes. With a nurse, paramedic and online physician oversight, the unit will take services to people with less urgent health issues.

“Emergency room closures and long waits have plagued our health-care system and frustrated people in this area for many years,” said Premier Darrell Dexter today, Dec. 21. “The six collaborative emergency centres open already bring together emergency departments, local family practices and other health professionals, working as a team, to provide better care sooner to families, night and day.”

The Cape Breton District Health Authority and its advisory committee are planning how the New Waterford CEC will function and will share details when they are available.

“Now the Cape Breton District Health Authority will be able to begin its work in getting this CEC up and running so that we add these new features to the New Waterford hospital,” said Deputy Premier Frank Corbett. “Here in New Waterford, we have residents who don’t drive or who have limited access to transportation. With a mobile CEC, residents won’t have to wait for care in the ER or travel to a fixed site at night. Instead, the team will come to them, assess their needs, and provide the most appropriate care.”

Jim Merkley, vice-president of operations for the Cape Breton District, says the steering and operations committees are working out the details on how a mobile CEC will roll out.

“The CEC is an exciting addition to our services in New Waterford and will help to improve access to primary care for many people in the community,” said Mr. Merkley. “It also enhances our goal to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”

The centre is expected to begin operations in the spring.

Establishing collaborative emergency centres fulfills a key commitment of Better Care Sooner, government’s response to Dr. Ross’s report.

Nova Scotia has opened six other collaborative emergency centres since 2011, in Parrsboro, Springhill, Tatamagouche, Pugwash, Musquodoboit Harbour and Annapolis Royal.

For more information on Better Care Sooner or to download a co