Nova Scotia

Responses to doctor's emergency care concerns

Nova Scotia's political leaders answered questions on emergency department overcrowding Monday after a prominent emergency room physician shared his opinion with CBC News.
Dr. John Ross says Nova Scotia has made advances in health care in the last four years. (iStock) (iStock)

Nova Scotia's political leaders answered questions on emergency department overcrowding Monday after a prominent emergency room physician shared his opinion with CBC News.

Dr. John Ross, a senior emergency physician in Nova Scotia, said an election is a great time to talk about crowded emergency departments.

"People like to point fingers at politicians often during this time period and I think they are accountable," he said.

Ross thinks Nova Scotia is falling behind other parts of the country in the struggle to reduce emergency department overcrowding and long waits for patients.

"British Columbia and Ontario have, I think, declared a bit more of an emergency around emergency care and they've come up with some innovative funding strategies," he said.

Ross wrote a commentary for CBC Nova Scotia. All three leaders responded Monday.

Darrell Dexter: New Democrats

Darrell Dexter said his New Democratic Party made progress in reducing wait times during its four-year term. That happened by investing in home care and allowing paramedics to do more in the field, he said.

"I did read it and I thought, as I have always thought, that he did a very thorough analysis of things," he said of Ross's piece.

"Having now put in place those kinds of steps, we can look to do more around making sure emergency rooms are better able to handle the load coming through their doors."

Stephen McNeil: Liberals 

Stephen McNeil said his Liberal Party would target high-end salaries.

"We've very clearly said we need to eliminate district health authorities and the $18 million that we're spending on executive salaries," he said.

That money could then go to reducing overcrowding in emergency rooms, he said.

Jamie Baillie: Progressive Conservatives

Jamie Baillie agreed there should be fewer health authorities. He said his Progressive Conservatives would reduce the number of health authorities from 10 to three.

"One for the city, one for the rural areas and the IWK," he said. "Then using the savings, which we calculate at $60 million, to direct to specific outcomes that we want for our health systems."

He said that would allow him to direct money from administration to wait-time reduction.

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