TATAMAGIUCHE – Premier Darrell Dexter officially opened the province's third collaborative emergency centre at the Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital here Wednesday.
More than 1,500 patients in the area have already benefited from the care of highly trained doctors, nurses and paramedics since the centre opened to the public in July.
"Nova Scotia's third collaborative emergency centre is helping people receive better health care, when and where they need it," said Premier Dexter, who along with Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson, met with local residents at the centre's official opening.
"By bringing emergency departments and local family practices together to work as a team, we are fulfilling government's commitment to keep emergency rooms open to ensure Nova Scotians get the health care they need in their own communities."
Emergency room closures plagued the Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital in the past. Between April 2010 and March 2011, the hospital had 1,952 hours of temporary closure. The new collaborative emergency centre is keeping the emergency room open, reducing patient wait times and providing a team-based approach that offers continuity of care. This will ensure patients can get the appropriate treatment before a minor health issue becomes a health crisis.
Nova Scotia's first collaborative emergency centre opened in Parrsboro in July 2011, and the Springhill centre opened in March. Centres have also been announced for Pugwash, Annapolis Royal and Musquodoboit Harbour.
Other provinces are following Nova Scotia's progressive and innovative approach to health care. Saskatchewan announced it will implement a similar CEC model after visiting the Parrsboro centre in July. Officials specifically noted the appeal of primary health care professionals working together as a team.
The services at the collaborative emergency centre in Tatamagouche include:
– access to primary health care by a team of professionals, including doctors and nurse practitioners, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week
– same-day or next-day access to medical appointments
– 24/7 access to emergency care.
Between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., a team, including a primary care paramedic and a registered nurse, staff the centre to ensure patients get the care they need. An EHS oversight physician provides assistance by phone.
"The Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital was a deciding factor in our move here 13 years ago from Banff. Naturally, I grew concerned with the many closures we experienced in the past couple of years," said Murray Pridham, local resident and a volunteer with the CEC Community Liasion Committee. "The formation of the CEC is a great solution to keeping this hospital open and serving the community for years to come. Having my GP on site, with quick access to the hospital facilities, has been great. I see a physician much quicker now."
"The collaborative emergency centre now offers our communities more reliable access around the clock to primary and emergency health care services," said Colchester East Hants Health Authority Board chair John K. MacDonald. "We are so grateful for this new model and the many partners provincially and across our district who brought life to this new service for our residents."