The Cape Breton District Health Authority spent more than $60,000 announcing emergency room closures in 2013.
One or two ERs are shut temporarily each week in the district because of staff shortages. Each time, the health authority must advertise the closures on radio and in newspapers. Last year that cost $61,000.
Greg Boone, director of public affairs for the health authority, said the money comes from his budget.
"We're faced with a challenge in providing 24/7 emergency department coverage. We can't do that, so we need to do some alternate things and one of those is to tell the public which service will be available to them [and] when,” he said.
"I would certainly like to be spending the bulk of the advertising budget money for things like health promotion and health education and other types of advertising not related to closures of emergency departments."
$10K bill in South Shore
It’s a problem for other districts too. Theresa Hawkesworth of South Shore Health said advertising closures hurts their budget.
"Last year we spent about $10,000. Of course that can vary slightly depending on the number of closures in a given year,” she said.