Even with a state-of-the-art health centre in our neighbourhood, there are challenges to meet health care demands.
Last week, the Colchester East Hants Health Centre was experiencing a significant increase in hospital admissions and a high number of visits to its emergency department.
The pressures on the hospitalâ€™s system were so great, officials issued a news release asking community members to take measures to protect their health and to consider the different options they have at their disposal to have their care needs met.
Patients who were not experiencing life threatening or emergency health issues were told to expect increased waits in the emergency department.
It is increasingly important for everyoneâ€™s safety, in this world where people demand instant gratification, for people to make use of alternative health care options prior to visiting an emergency room.
Emergency care should be just that, care provided when there are no more alternatives.
Many concerns people visit the ER to have managed could be addressed by a family doctor or other primary care providers, such as prescription renewals, support managing chronic illness and other non-emergency concerns.
We are also fortunate in Nova Scotia to have access to 24-hour advice from a registered nurse through the 811 service. Those who are concerned about their symptoms or are not sure what to do can call the service and professionals will help identify if a trip to the ER is the best option.
Legislation also changed within the past year giving pharmacists a greater scope of practice to do things like administer vaccinations and offer information and advice on various health concerns.
There is no denying there is an ongoing shortage of physicians to deal with the health concerns of citizens but not every health concern should be addressed by the over-burdened staff of our hospitalâ€™s ER.