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N.S. announces slate of changes to improve emergency departments

The Nova Scotia government has announced a long list of changes it hopes will improve care at emergency departments, including ways to ensure patients with the most urgent needs get help first, improve ambulance response times and offer more places for people to receive care.

“Our health-care system has been neglected for years, for almost my entire career as a registered nurse,” said Health Minister Michelle Thompson at a news conference on Wednesday. “Government after government of all political stripes has focused on efficiency and cost containment in health care, despite calls from experts and health-care workers that the system was in trouble.

“They were warned that our workforce would retire en masse, chronic disease rates were increasing, and our proportion of the population that was elderly would grow. And the lack of proper infrastructure and human resource investments would leave us in the place we find ourselves in today. But nobody listened.…

“We are investing and we are working tirelessly to reverse the tide brought on by so many years of neglect.”

A woman sits at a desk in front of a microphone. Two Nova Scotia flags hang in the background.
Karen Oldfield, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Health, said the health-care system can be improved ‘if we all pull together with a common goal.’ (CBC)

Karen Oldfield, the president and CEO of Nova Scotia Health, urged people with skills in health care to come forward.

“We’re looking for more help. If you’re a nurse or a nurse practitioner or a physician or any other health-care worker who’s looking for work, rest assured, I’m looking for you. Let us know that you’re available.

“Because we can do it if we all pull together with a common goal: a system that is ready, responsive and reliable.”

Emergency department changes

In order to get speedier care in urgent cases, the government said that it plans to deploy teams led

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