Nurse strike in Halifax results in postponed surgeries in Truro

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TRURO - At least half a dozen surgeries have been postponed at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre because of an expected nurses strike in Halifax.

"On the overall scope it's fairly minimal but at the same time it is disruptive for the patients who had those bookings," district health authority CEO Peter MacKinnon said. "We're looking at rebooking as quickly as possible, maybe within a week or two."

The elective surgeries, which would have required the patients to be admitted to the hospital, were postponed to free up beds in order to transfer Halifax patients that may be affected by the anticipated labour disruption.

Picket lines are expected to occur outside most Halifax-area hospitals early Thursday morning when more than 2,300 unionized nurses will be in a legal position to strike.

The nurses are planning to strike because they have been unable to reach an agreement with the Liberal government on achieving higher staffing levels.

The provincial government, meanwhile, is working quickly in order to pass essential services legislation that could see the nurses forced back to work as early as Friday.

Some nurses participated in a wildcat strike on Tuesday in advance of the legal strike date.

Hundreds of surgeries have been postponed in Halifax as a result of the labour issues and MacKinnon said hospitals across the province are making arrangements similar to what is taking place at the Truro facility.

"The level of co-operation and collaboration across the districts through a challenging time like this has been really exemplary and our clinical leaders and others have stepped up to make sure that were able to minimize the impact on patient care as much as possible," he said.

And while no labour disruptions have taken place in Truro, the situation has made things especially challenging, he said, given that the hospital's in-patient capacity is already full.

"The amount of pressure on the system day in and day out is really high," MacKinnon said.

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @tdnharry

Geographic location: Halifax, Truro

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