Emergency Department Accountability Legislation Introduced

October 28, 2009

New legislation introduced today, Oct. 28, will provide public accountability to communities experiencing emergency department closures and will require the health minister to report annually on closures to the House of Assembly. 

“We committed to ensure ministerial accountability for emergency departments,” said Health Minister Maureen MacDonald. “This legislation fulfils that commitment.” 

The minister said the legislation puts the right information in the right hands and ensures that district health authorities and communities are involved in the process. 

“That accountability is an important step in keeping emergency rooms open in our province,” Ms. MacDonald said.

District health authorities are already required to hold public forums. The new legislation requires consultation during these forums on emergency department closures and consideration of proposed community solutions. Districts must report to the minister about the results as well as on potential closures. 

“Chronic closure of emergency departments is a long-standing problem in Nova Scotia. This is a complex issue that will take time to address,” said Ms. MacDonald. “This legislation enables government, district health authorities and communities to work through practical solutions together. That’s accountability.” 

The legislation requires the minister of health to table an annual report detailing dates and reasons for emergency room closures for that year.