Mobile emergency room

New Waterford will be the first community in the province to have a mobile emergency room that will travel to patients homes to treat them. (CBC)

New Waterford will be the first community in the province to have a mobile emergency room that will travel to patients' homes to treat them.

A chronic shortage of doctors led to numerous emergency room closures at the New Waterford hospital and that lead to the district health authority developing a plan that didn't involve doctors.

Mobile care teams made up of paramedics and nurses will travel in a  new emergency vehicle to patients' houses when the regular ER is closed.

"Basically, [they'll] have the emergency room in their kitchen," said paramedic Vicky Durant.

The public was invited to ask questions about the upcoming changes to their medical care at a public meeting on Tuesday.

Many people asked about how the service would be delivered, and what they should expect.

Those in need of assistance will still call 911, then it will be decided case by case if they need an ambulance or if they need the new care team.

"I'm very excited about it. From the information I received this evening I feel quite confident," said New Waterford resident Margaret Berger.

Joe Bruce also lives in the community.

"I think once it's completed and comes to fruition, I think we're going to be very proud," he said.

"I'm on one of the committees and all the practices, procedures and policies, they're all nailed down. It's fantastic, so we'll have to wait and see."

The crowd also heard how the mobile care team is part of a larger plan with emphasis on more co-ordinated care during the day.

As part of this plan, the Cape Breton District Health Authority is recruiting two more nurse practitioners.

"It's both exciting and daunting and I think it will actually make sure that patients get services in a more timely manner and that just makes you feel good because you know that you're making a difference," said Dianne Calvert Simms, CEO of the health authority.

The mobile care team will operate for 12 hours a day from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. 

The service will only be offered four nights a week to start.

The mobile care teams starts work Sept. 30.