Nova Scotia

Roseway Hospital in Shelburne to get more staff for ER crunch

The Nova Scotia government has announced additional staff is coming to Shelburne's Roseway Hospital, where nurse shortages have forced its emergency room to close for more than 500 hours this past year.

So many people gathered outside the town hall that Water Street was shut down

More than 100 people gathered in front of the town hall in Shelburne on Monday to show visiting Health Minister Leo Glavine their concern over ER closures. (Jean LaRoche/CBC)

The Nova Scotia government has announced additional staff is coming to Shelburne's Roseway Hospital, where nurse shortages have forced its emergency room to close for more than 500 hours this past year.

Over 100 people gathered outside Shelburne's town hall today, where Health Minister Leo Glavine and Nova Scotia Health Authority CEO Janet Knox presented their plans to improve the problematic situation to council.

"Obviously, we need a short and a long-term plan," Glavine told CBC News after the meeting was finished late Monday afternoon. 

"Part of the problem here has been having sufficient nurses. So, to that end, there is one RN who is trained for ER work, who will be starting pretty well right away. There are four EHS paramedics who are now being oriented for the ER."

The new staff will be ready by the middle of November, Glavine said. It's still unclear if Roseway's only ER doctor, Dr. Wouna Chaloner, will return to work in Shelburne after having been in Manitoba the past several weeks. 

"In terms of doctors, I think there will be a conversation with Dr. Chaloner. That conversation now, whether we have assurance that if she returns to the community here, there will be nursing staff — that part has been problematic for her."

The province recently announced a new primary health-care collaborative centre in Shelburne, for which it will invest $1.65 million.

Glavine and Knox discussed additional changes coming to Shelburne:

  • Two new family physicians will start in 2016. At that time, there will be nine full-time doctors and additional hours for one part-time doctor
  • Six new physicians have been named to fill in for any other doctors who are away
  • Another nurse, Roseway's first RN student bursary winner, will start work after graduation in May
  • Funding will be used to place registered nurse students for summer placements at Roseway
  • Other nurses from Yarmouth and Digby will continue covering shifts at Roseway

Glavine hears from concerned residents

Prior to the meeting, Glavine met with the large crowd of residents outside of the town hall. The crowd included Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall. 

"My message to the minister is this — same as it's been. In 1990, we had a 52-bed hospital that supported surgery and obstetrics, that provided services that our residents deserve," Mattatall said.

"I personally find it offensive that we have been begging — that we have been relegated, I should say — to begging the province to do their job by just keeping our ER open."

Health Minister Leo Glavine shakes hands with Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall before the meeting began. (CBC)

Staff at Roseway Manor, which is next door to the hospital, said if the emergency department is closed they have to travel to Yarmouth, Bridgewater or Liverpool for care if residents need help. 

"Even for a car accident for example, something serious, if there's no doctor or nurse here on site then they can't be treated here," said manor administrator Cathy Hambleton.

"They just bypass Shelburne altogether and head for another facility and that's what's brought all these great people out today."

So many people showed up in front of the town hall on Monday that a section of Water Street was shut down. 

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